Increased Sustainable Access and Use of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
Natural ecosystems serve to purify water of both biological and chemical contaminants, and thus reduce water treatment costs and improve water availability for use.
Reports and Evidence
- Upstream Watershed Condition Predicts Rural Children’s Health Across 35 Developing Countries summarizes research on the connections between forests, wetlands, and childhood diarrheal disease.
- Freshwater Conservation and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene provides guidance to health, development, and conservation professionals in sub-Saharan Africa on how to plan, coordinate, develop, and achieve mutually supported WASH and freshwater conservation outcomes.
- The USAID/Dominican Republic’s Climate Adaptation: Climate Risk Reduction activity invested in both developing green buffers to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather as well as small-scale water delivery and treatment systems to reduce communities’ vulnerability to changes in water availability (e.g. drought and flood) and water quality.
- The Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) activity worked to address the complex connections between humans, their health, and their environment with integrated activities that improved access to health services and WASH while also helping communities manage natural resources and conserve critical ecosystems.
- USAID’s Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group examines the linkages between biodiversity conservation and health, including WASH interventions. In Uganda, a pilot project improved watershed health and increased access to WASH services in 10 villages in the Budongo-Bugoma Forest Corridor. The project’s conservation activities focused on tree planting in riverine forest in coordination with ongoing work to protect chimpanzee habitat.
Photo by: Fundacion Grupo Jaragua for USAID/Dominican Republic.
Improved Water Resource Management and Resilience
Due to their ability to capture and store water, natural ecosystems can balance water delivery and thus increase the resilience of water supply systems.
Reports and Evidence
- Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Water Security highlights ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches that can help people and communities address water insecurity by increasing water quantity, enhancing water quality, and minimizing impacts from extreme weather events.
- Enhancing Watershed Management: Integrated Water Resources Management in Nepal describes the work of USAID/Nepal’s Program for Aquatic Natural Resources Improvement to enhance water resources management through an integrated approach in 12 priority watersheds.
- Maintaining Water Security in Critical Water Catchments in Mongolia highlights activities using the EbA approach in a project funded by the United Nations Development Programme and Adaptation Fund. The project helped vulnerable communities in two areas of rural Mongolia adapt to climate change.
- Biodiversity Integration in Practice: A Case Study of USAID in Western Honduras illustrates the approach and process used by USAID/Honduras to integrate its biodiversity, education, food security and nutrition, and governance sectors, using water and watersheds as a unifying theme.
- Maintaining Water Security in Peru through Green Infrastructure highlights USAID/Peru’s focus on building local community and government capacity for improved environmental governance and implementing green infrastructure approaches to strengthen ecosystems and stabilize the provision of water.
- To help conserve the natural environments from which Indonesia’s freshwater supply originates, USAID/Indonesia’s LESTARI program secured protection for more than 24,000 square kilometers of forest through improved natural resource management in Aceh, Central Kalimantan, and Papua Provinces thus improving the availability of water for consumption and sanitation.
- In Indonesia, the USAID Environmental Services Program worked with stakeholders to improve the management of water resources and expand access to safe water; this includes strategies to strengthen upper watersheds through activities like forest conservation, critical land rehabilitation, and water resource protection.
Photo by: USAID SEA.