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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: Human health & medicine, Technology development, Sanitation & wastewater, Urban service delivery, Water quality & treatment
The Lotus Water project provides solutions for the more than 500 million people living in cities of the developing world who have piped water service but receive water that does not meet international standards for safety. The team’s business pilot involves offering landlords different packages of chlorine refill and hand pump maintenance services. This approach to water treatment employs technologies that deliver high quality water on a reliable basis, with virtually no behavior change required on the part of users.
Research Area: Human health & medicine
Ali Boehm received a new grant from NSF to study norovirus persistence in surface waters. Even though norovirus is a leading cause of water-associated illness worldwide, there are only 2 studies on its persistence in surface waters. Norovirus cannot be readily cultured, so innovative methods have to be developed to approximate its infectivity during persistence studies. Boehm is working with collaborators at the CDC including Stanford alumna Mia Mattioli.
Research Area: Coastal zones, Science & engineering, Water quality & treatment
Stormwater runoff has been found to be a frequent source of pollution to waterways, as it mobilizes contaminants from impervious urban landscapes to aquatic environments. Led by Ali Boehm and PhD student Katy Graham, the research team is collecting dry weather and wet weather water samples from urban creeks in the area and processing them to quantify fecal indicator bacteria  and human enteric viruses.
Research Area: Business models, Human health & medicine, Rural services & development, Water supply
This project explores preferences of water services and the costs and benefits of transitioning from unimproved water sources to piped household water connections. We aim to capture how the transition affects quantity and quality of water consumed, changes in household time allocation, cost of water and common indicators of health such as diarrheal morbidity. We are also focusing on maternal stress and child development outcomes, exploring whether children experience lifelong health and productivity impairments due to poor quality water services during early childhood.
Research Area: Coastal zones, Human health & medicine, Water quality & treatment
Ali Boehm has been leading a team in developing new methods for deriving risk-based thresholds to define “safe” waters for recreational contact. This is done using quantitative microbial risk assessment to compare the predicted risks from swimming in waters contaminated with pathogens from diverse sources of diverse ages, with distinct pathogen and water quality indicator profiles. The team has examined risks when waters are contaminated with fresh pathogens versus aged pathogens and scenarios of raw sewage, bird feces and treated wastewater.