Water Currents: "Best Of" Water Currents

Over the past five and a half years, practitioners in the water and sanitation space have come to rely on a topical and curated selection of the latest water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and water resources management research, resources, and news. During that time, Water Currents has become an increasingly collaborative endeavor with its readers, tapping into niche expertise, new audiences, priority topics, and global crises—from COVID-19 and climate change to games and virtual reality to human-centered design. Many organizations, individuals, and USAID activities contributed their ideas, time, and research with us over the years to make this newsletter what it is today. Thank you. 

This final issue of Water Currents produced under the Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project takes a look back at the broad range of topics covered over the years and highlights those that most resonated with readers, based on newsletter analytics. Publication of this newsletter will resume later this year under a new USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Center for Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene mechanism. Links to all past Water Currents can be found on Globalwaters.org

In Focus

Global Campaign Days
World Water Day 2021. March 16, 2021. This issue includes publications and studies from USAID–supported projects that deal with drinking water, sanitation, and health services; natural water resources and ecosystems; water storage and supply; among other issues.

World Toilet Day 2020. November 12, 2020. This issue features recent USAID sanitation publications as well as studies on COVID-19 and sanitation, sanitation financing, resource recovery, and other topics.

Global Handwashing Day 2020. October 12, 2020. Studies and resources in this issue focus on hand hygiene in schools, humanitarian situations, health care facilities, as well as hand hygiene and COVID-19.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020. May 21, 2020. The USAID Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability project and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health provided content suggestions for this issue, which includes research on menstrual hygiene management as it relates to economics, innovation, education, and humanitarian situations.

Health/Hygiene Issues
WASH & Neglected Tropical Diseases. January 26, 2021. Prepared to mark World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day, this newsletter features USAID NTD resources and tools as well as literature on individual diseases.

Handwashing Research. July 23, 2020. The Global Handwashing Partnership collaborated on this issue, which contains peer-reviewed studies and reports on handwashing that were published from January through June 2020.

COVID-19 and Sanitation. August 11, 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak raised a lot of questions about safe waste and wastewater handling. This issue provides an overview of studies, reports, and blog posts that discuss the virus and its impact on wastewater, wastewater surveillance, medical waste, and solid and household waste.

WASH and Antimicrobial Resistance. October 1, 2019. This newsletter includes studies on the connection between antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and water and sanitation, the One Health approach to tackling AMR, and country situation reports. The Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity project, Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, and Global Water 2020 helped to curate the content.

WASH in Health Care Facilities. April 4, 2019. To deliver quality health care, institutions require safe water and sanitation services, handwashing facilities, and a process for safely managing and disposing of health care waste. This issue features studies, webinars, country assessments, toolkits and training materials, reports, and other pre-COVID resources published from 2017 to 2019.

Sanitation Issues
Sanitation Topics. February 21, 2020. This newsletter includes studies and resources on a variety of sanitation-related topics such as market-based sanitation, community-led total sanitation, fecal sludge management, and sanitation financing.

Inclusive WASH. December 4, 2020. Disabled populations and other at-risk groups face challenges when trying to access safe WASH. This collection of studies and resources focuses on inclusive WASH as it relates to gender, disabled groups, the elderly, incarcerated populations, and other at-risk groups.

Peri-Urban Sanitation. June 11, 2019. Recent studies and resources on fecal sludge management (FSM), container-based sanitation, shared sanitation, and other urban sanitation topics are included in this issue.

Citywide Inclusive Sanitation. October 23, 2018. This collection of articles, tools, and other resources focuses on Citywide Inclusive Sanitation, an approach to urban sanitation that involves collaboration among many actors to ensure that everyone benefits from adequate sanitation service delivery outcomes.

Fecal Sludge Management. January 17, 2018. Recent studies on FSM are featured in this issue, including research that discusses the health-related aspects, technological aspects, and related economic/financing issues.

Water Security Issues
Water Quality Developments & Challenges. February 11, 2021. This compendium of resources and recent studies covers water quality monitoring, water quality and COVID-19, chemical and microbial pollution, household water treatment, and the use of biochar to address chemical pollution of water supplies.

Sustainable WASH Systems. April 15, 2020. This issue focuses on the work of the many local governments, communities, and sector partners, as well as USAID investments in programs like the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership that are exploring new approaches to strengthen local systems to achieve greater service sustainability.

Water Harvesting Methods. December 12, 2019. Two relatively low-tech, cost-effective water conservation techniques, rainwater and fog harvesting, are the focus of this issue on water conservation technologies and their applications.

Water Security. August 6, 2019. This issue of Water Currents shares research and perspectives on various aspects of water security. A special thanks to USAID’s Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) team for co-curating this issue.

Governance & Finance Issues
Data for Water Sector Decision Making. December 20, 2020. Curated with the help of SWP and WaterAid, the issue features reports and resources from USAID; studies on data management, COVID-19, and data; artificial intelligence applications in the water sector; and sources of water data.

WASH and Financing. June 23, 2020. This issue focuses on finance in the WASH sector and includes recent studies, webinars, and other resources that discuss blended finance, subsidies, and tariffs.

Water Utilities. December 12, 2018. The ability of utilities to provide a safely managed water service—and to reach the unserved—will be underpinned by their investment in efficiency improvement, policy and institutional capacity development, access to financing, and ability to respond to climate change—even more than infrastructure investments.

WASH and the Systems Approach. July 10, 2018. The USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) prepared this special issue of Water Currents focusing on systems approaches, which seek to understand the complexity, interactions, and interdependencies between actors and factors involved in WASH.

Other Issues
Games and Virtual Resources. August 26, 2020. Including examples from USAID activities that have developed games and applied innovative learning approaches, this newsletter also provides links to games, mobile apps, as well as recent studies on the use of games to address handwashing, menstrual hygiene management, sanitation, and water resources.

WASH and Mobile Technologies. October 29, 2019. Read recent studies on how mobile applications are being applied to financing, water utilities, humanitarian WASH situations, and other areas.

Learning from Failures. April 25, 2019. Featuring articles that talk about failure, how to identify and avoid future failures, and the role of finance in mitigating failure, this newsletter includes case studies from Tanzania, Nigeria, and Nepal, as well as studies that discuss learning from failure in rural water supply and urban sanitation systems.

WASH and Gender. March 5, 2019. The Institute of Development Studies curated content for this issue, which includes gender-related studies and reports from 2017 and 2018 on menstrual hygiene management, gender issues related to water collection and water security, and male participation in sanitation

WASH & Human-Centered Design. April 18, 2018. Featuring lessons learned on using human-centered design in the WASH sector, this newsletter also includes general resources on the topic, such as manuals and online courses.

Water Conflict. February 6, 2018. The risk of water-related violence and conflict is growing, as scarce water resources face ever-increasing pressures from growing populations and environmental degradation. Open access articles, reports, and news articles cited in this issue focus on water, conflict, and peacebuilding.

WASH and Pastoralists. September 19, 2017. Pastoralism is still seen as highly dynamic and intricately linked to the modern world, but there is little doubt that this lifestyle presents significant health challenges and environmental pressures. This issue of Water Currents takes a close look at recent studies documenting these challenges—from disease transmission to coping with water scarcity.