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Current Projects

WHD researchers work to create the knowledge, skills and solutions needed to support effective management of water and wastes, and to ensure sustained, equitable access to water supply and sanitation services. Our research addresses issues such as water quality and quantity, sanitation and hygiene, health and resource recovery for energy and food production. 

Research Area: Health behavior, Human health & medicine, Rural services & development, Sanitation & wastewater
WHD, Sesame Workshop and World Vision have partnered together to investigate key impacts and outcomes of the WASH UP! program. The WASH UP! initiative aims to reduce the number of children suffering or dying from preventable and treatable diseases by providing access to meaningful sanitation and hygiene education and the necessary infrastructure. To build evidence around and improve WASH infrastructure and behavior change programming through WASH UP!, WHD researchers are conducting an impact evaluation of the program to investigate key impacts and outcomes over a three-year period.
Research Area: Infrastructure policy & planning
The objectives of this research are to assess the demand among water user committees and water users for reliable boreholes with handpumps provided by the EverFlow maintenance service. We will also quantify the financial and economic costs and benefits of the EverFlow maintenance service to water users, communities, and local government. The project will contribute new knowledge that informs scaling up EverFlow, and that helps establish the conditions under which such market-based approaches can help address sustainability of rural water infrastructure for the broader sector.
Research Area: Technology development, Sanitation & wastewater, Water quality & treatment
The accumulation of untreated fecal sludge – the waste product from sanitation systems without a sewer – leads to water contamination from carbon, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and pathogens, posing a threat to both human and environmental health in low- and middle-income countries.
Research Area: Human health & medicine, Science & engineering, Sanitation & wastewater
This project aims to provide critical information to understand, address and contain COVID-19 while also helping better prepare scientists, engineers and public health officials for future coronavirus outbreaks. Coronavirus persistence, environmental transmission and wastewater monitoring are areas of research that have not been explored. Working to address these research gaps, the team will be characterizing the rate of transfer of enveloped viruses between hands and surfaces and measuring inactivation kinetics of coronaviruses with UV radiation and sunlight.
Research Area: Climate science & policy, Hydrology, Infrastructure engineering, Water security, Water supply
In 2012 California enacted legislation upholding a human right to water, becoming the first state to recognize the right of all citizens to clean, affordable drinking water. This project is analyzing how household water affordability, access and equity is affected by drought mitigation measures such as water use restrictions, rate increases or infrastructure investments. Using equity-based performance metrics with decision-support models the approach will help identify solutions that enable affordability and reliability at both the utility and household level.