July 2019 WASH Benefits studies | USAID funding for desalination research


USAID/MEDRC Humanitarian Desalination Challenge: Call for Proposals – In partnership with USAID, MEDRC Water Research is launching an international research call for proposals to boost innovation in small scale desalination technologies. The Humanitarian Desalination Challenge Research Call will support pathway research, aimed at the delivery of an innovative family sized desalination unit.


Achieving optimal technology and behavioral uptake of single and combined interventions of water, sanitation hygiene and nutrition, in an efficacy trial (WASH benefits) in rural Bangladesh. Trials, July 6. Rigorous implementation of interventions deployed at large scale in the context of an efficacy trial achieved high levels of technology and behavioral uptake in individual and combined WASH and nutrition intervention households. Further work should assess how to achieve similar uptake levels under programmatic conditions.

WASH Benefits Bangladesh trial: system for monitoring coverage and quality in an efficacy trial. Trials, July 6. Behavioral objectives were drinking treated, safely stored water, safe feces disposal, handwashing with soap at key times, and age-appropriate nutrition behaviors. We administered monthly surveys and spot-checks to households from randomly selected clusters for 6 months early in the trial. If any fidelity measures fell below set benchmarks, a rapid response mechanism was triggered.


WASH practices and its association with nutritional status of adolescent girls in poverty pockets of eastern India. BMC Women’s Health, July 5. Poor WASH practices like water facility outside the household premise, unimproved sanitation facility, non use of soap after defecation had significant association with poor nutritional status of adolescent girls.

Economic cost analysis of low-cost sanitation technology options in informal settlement areas (case study: Soweto, Johannesburg). International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 3 July 2019. The study revealed that simplified sewerage is the cheapest option for Soweto informal settlement, even when the costs of pumping and treatment are included. Gravity simplified sewerage with treatment is cheaper than the UDDT system and VIP latrine at all population densities above 158 and 172 persons/ha, respectively. The total annual cost per household of simplified sewerage and treatment was US$142 compared to US$156 and US$144 for UDDT and VIP latrine respectively.

Microbial Source Tracking Using 16S rRNA Amplicon Sequencing Identifies Evidence of Widespread Contamination from Young Children’s Feces in an Urban Slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Environ. Sci. Technol., June 21, 2019. Among environmental samples, young children’s feces were almost always identified as the dominant source of human fecal contamination inside households (hands, surfaces) whereas older children/adult feces were often identified as the dominant source outside households (standing water, streams, soil). Markers for young children’s feces were also detected in standing water and streams, and markers for both fecal sources were equally likely to be dominant in open ditches. These results establish motivation for sanitation interventions that directly address child feces management.


Will Sarni: “Cyber security is critical for water utilities.” Smart Water Magazine, July 2019. Digital technologies are providing vastly improved connectivity from source to use.

Gender and water collection responsibilities – A snapshot of Latin America. Water Blog, June 26. In those households where water needs to be collected, 57 % of those collecting water in El Salvador, 55.6 % of those fetching water in Panama, and 57.9 % of those fetching water in Paraguay are women. In Mexico, the burden of fetching water seems more evenly divided: with 50.8 % of women burdened with water-collection responsibilities.

As a major Indian city runs out of water, 9 million people pray for rain. Washington Post, June 28. A severe water shortage is stalking Chennai, whose metropolitan area is home to 9 million people. The city’s reservoirs and lakes are parched and its wells have run dry after two years of scanty rains here.

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