Water and Sanitation

Providing water and sanitation for all in an equitable and sustainable way is central to achieving global justice for poor women and men. Despite successive global declarations and efforts, the situation remains appalling with millions suffering from lack of access.

Simplistic portrayals of water and sanitation 'crises' have often led to misunderstandings on the nature of the problem and how to address it. The result has been a failure to centralise the needs and interests of the poor and marginalised within different solutions.

Water Justice

Principally conducted by researchers at IDS and within the STEPS Centre, our work on water justice critically examines the politics and pathways of water and sanitation policy and practice through interdisciplinary research on access, rights and control over these key resources. Through this research we ask how future global action on water and sanitation and water resources management can centralise the needs of the poor and most marginalised.

Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

IDS has been working on the research, learning and networking aspects of CLTS for close to a decade. During this time, CLTS has become an international movement. The IDS programme on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) works around the world to ensure that CLTS goes to scale with quality and in a sustainable and inclusive manner. The aim is to contribute to the dignity, health and wellbeing of children, women and men in the developing world who currently suffer the consequences of inadequate or no sanitation and poor hygiene.

Photo of Gordon McGranahan, Cities research fellow More details

IDS staff or research student More details

Photo of Jamie Myers, IDS Research Officer More details

Photo of Jeremy Allouche, IDS research fellow More details

Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow in the IDS Rural Futures research cluster More details

Kamal Kar photo More details

Photo of Lyla Mehta More details

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photo of Shilpi Srivastava More details

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DFID Innovation Prizes for Environment and Development

Running innovation prizes that will improve poor people's resilience to climate change. More details

Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures)

GroFutures is a 4-year interdisciplinary research project aiming to develop the scientific basis and participatory management processes by which groundwater resources can be used sustainably for poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

Human Development Innovation Fund

The Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) identifies and supports innovations that have the potential to create social impact in education, health and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) across Tanzania. More details

Improving access to livelihoods, jobs and basic services in violent contexts

Expanding access to work and services, such as public utilities and safe and reliable transportation, are important elements of any approach to strengthen security in poor urban neighbourhoods. More details

Roads for Water

Water is an invisible passenger travelling on and under roads. Roads also act as dikes altering run-off patterns and sometimes even re-arranging watersheds. Road programs and projects directly deal with existing land and water property and user rights: farmers gaining or losing water resources. More details

Sharing Lessons, Improving Practice: Maximising the Potential of Community-Led Total Sanitation

CLTS is an innovative methodology for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation (OD). More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) Initiative

The Triple-S Initiative aims to catalyse systemic change in rural water policies and practices, to move from an infrastructure-based approach towards service delivery approaches. IDS is providing ongoing external learning and methodology support to the initiative. More details

Universalising Water and Sanitation Coverage in Urban Areas: From Global Targets To Local Realities in Dar Es Salaam

The Sustainable Development Goals have targeted universal access to water and sanitation, and associated monitoring is intended to help achieve this target. Reflecting on Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this consultancy explores how global monitoring could better support local efforts to improve water and sanitation in low-income urban settlements. More details

Water Justice Programme

The Water Justice Programme critically examines the politics and pathways of water and sanitation policy and practice through interdisciplinary research on access, rights and control over these key resources More details

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IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Beyond Subsidies – Triggering a Revolution in Rural Sanitation

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 10 (2009)

This In Focus Policy Briefing asks how can we maximise the huge potential for transforming rural sanitation that this approach offers? What has worked? What hinders progress? What should be done? More details

IDS publications on international development research

Screening for Climate Change Adaptation: Managing the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Water Sector in China

Advances in Climate Change Research 2009 5 (00) (2009)

According to different climatic regions facing different problems on water resource, four representative regions in China are chosen in the project; after setting up different objectives, this paper demonstrates the comprehensive research on climate change adaptation, and proposes new ideas, framework and methodologies on screening for climate change impacts and adaptation. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Letting off Steam: The Stockholm Message from World Water Week to the COP-15

Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology 8.4 (2009)
IDS publications on international development research

Is Water Lagging Behind on Aid Effectiveness? Lessons from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda

Water Alternatives 2.3 (2009)

A study in three countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda) assessed progress against the Paris Principles for Aid Effectiveness (AE) in three sectors - water, health and education - to test the assumption that the water sector is lagging behind. The findings show that it is too simplistic to say that the water sector is lagging, although this may well be the case in some countries. More details

Handbook on Community-Led Total Sanitation

The CLTS approach originates from Kamal Kar's evaluation of WaterAid Bangladesh and their local partner organisation - VERC's (Village Education Resource Centre is a local NGO) traditional water and sanitation programme and his subsequent work in Bangladesh in late 1999 and into 2000. More details

This is the latest paper by Robert Chambers

Going to Scale with Community-Led Total Sanitation: Reflections on Experience, Issues and Ways Forward

IDS Practice Paper 1 (2009)

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a revolutionary approach in which communities are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation (OD) and take their own action to become ODF (open defecation-free). More details

IDS Working Paper

Taking Community-Led Total Sanitation to Scale: Movement, Spread and Adaptation

IDS Working Paper 298 (2008)

When a practice becomes widespread enough, then it has 'gone to scale'. But increasing the intensity and spread of a particular practice is not a linear or obvious endeavour. The paper proposes that going to scale is multi-dimensional and complex. More details