During the Millennium Development Goal initiative, substantial gains were made in the extension of water supply and sanitation services to urban households in developing countries. Some 95% of urban dwellers in low- and middle-income countries now have access to “improved” water sources; however, water quality, service reliability, and affordability remain elusive, particularly for poor households. Three-quarters of those living in cities of the developing world have access to adequate sanitation facilities; at the same time, it is estimated that some 80% of urban wastewater flows are discharged to the environment without treatment. Continued rapid growth of many developing-country cities threatens to keep the focus for planning and policy on simple coverage metrics, at the expense of service quality and environmental health considerations.
In this seminar, Jenna Davis of Stanford University will review trends in urban water supply and sanitation service provision in developing regions. Drawing on her group’s work in Haiti, Bangladesh, and Mozambique, Davis will also present several cases of innovation—including technologies, service-delivery systems, and governance approaches—with the potential to improve access to, and quality of, water and sanitation services for low-income urban households. - April 4, 2016