Human Health and Well-being


Read about our Human Health and Well-being research projects.

Find a Human Health and Well-being expert.

Water is fundamental to human health and a key social justice issue. Lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is one of the greatest human health and environmental threats facing the world’s most vulnerable. According to the United Nations, almost 1,000 children die each day due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases. 

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for universal access to clean, affordable drinking water and sanitation for all by the year 2030. Many of the world’s poor or vulnerable live in water stressed areas where problems of water scarcity and contamination are increasing. 

Climate change, population growth, and poorly planned development is degrading the health and sustainability of watersheds, which is affecting agriculture and fisheries production, nutrition, and economic well-being. In order to meet these challenges, interdisciplinary approaches that include integration and innovation across technical (e.g., flood and drought management, improved irrigation, increased recycling, decentralized treatment), economic (e.g., affordability, improved system efficiencies, market-based instruments, effective investments), social (e.g., accessibility, equity, conservation education, community advocacy), and institutional (e.g., transparent information, supporting structures, effective governance) spheres are required.

  • understanding relationships between the environment, water, and human health
  • effective water and sanitation schemes for maternal and child health
  • understanding the burden of, and risks for, waterborne infectious diseases in human populations
  • assessing the impact of the extractive industry on public health
  • developing integrated health impact assessment concepts and methods
  • understanding the impact of natural disasters on community and human health
  • developing nano-sensors and lab-on-chip devices to test water quality