COVID-19 Shines Spotlight on Water and Sanitation Challenges

March 21, 2020, Oakland, California — Tomorrow is World Water Day,  a day to celebrate the importance of water to people and the planet. This year’s focus on water and climate change has been expanded to include handwashing, recognizing that our changing climate impacts water resources and exacerbates water scarcity in places around the world where people already lack access to safe water.

In fact, 40% of the global population – three billion people – live without soap and water available at home. In the face of COVID-19, they are among the most vulnerable and most at risk of being left behind. This is a challenge facing communities around the world, including across the United States.

In the coming weeks and months, Pacific Institute researchers will be diving more deeply into the interconnections between water and human health, including COVID-19. We believe our mission is more vital now than ever — the COVID-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on the weaknesses of social, economic, and health safety nets we’ve long taken for granted, including our water system.

The topic of water, sanitation, and hygiene has been a focus of our work for decades. Here is a snapshot of some of our recent work that is especially relevant in these times: