Safe water quality will become sub-Saharan Africa’s next challenge
San Francisco, Calif.—The Aquaya Institute announced today it has received a $3.7 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund its groundbreaking Monitoring for Safe Water program.
Monitoring for Safe Water is the first major effort to identify best policies and practices for increasing and improving water quality testing for African water suppliers and surveillance agencies.
Access to drinking water in sub-Saharan developing countries has improved significantly over the past several years, ” said Dr. Ranjiv Khush, co-founder and executive director of the Aquaya Institute. “But data on water quality is scarce and incomplete because testing is not prioritized.”
Water quality testing is important because contaminated drinking water is a primary cause of infant diarrhea, which is still a leading cause of death among children under five in the developing world.
“More children die of diarrhea than from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, ” Khush explains. “Efforts to improve water quality, either by treating water supplies or by reducing contamination through better sanitation and hygiene, should be the focus.”
Most African countries mandate water quality testing by both water suppliers and public health surveillance agencies, but enforcement remains an issue.
“The lack of data has two major consequences. First, we don’t know where the water quality problems are, and second, we don’t know how well safe water programs are working, ”
Monitoring for Safe Water aims to address these issues by achieving two goals:
This grant will help focus research on sub-Saharan Africa where Aquaya will work in at least five countries with five to six water suppliers and agencies per country.
“Improving and targeting safe water programs will improve global public health, particularly by reducing infant disease and death, ” Khush said.
Aquaya is also partnering with the International Water Association (IWA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate the Monitoring for Safe Water program.
For more information visit www.aquaya.org
About: The Aquaya Institute is a research and consulting organization founded in 2005 by scientists intent on bridging the divide between academic research and the field implementation of safe water programs in the developing world. Aquaya designs new products and services, identifies successful delivery models, and measures the health and socioeconomic impacts of water and sanitation programs.