The Pacific Institute’s mission ─ to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges ─ is more vital now than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the value of water and its connections to human health, but it is also highlighting longstanding water management deficiencies. We know that hand washing is one of the most effective ways for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Yet 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 challenge faces communities across the United States. In fact, more than two million Americans lack running water and indoor plumbing, and millions more can’t afford basic water service. To make matters worse, the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19 is causing unemployment in the U.S. to skyrocket, putting far more people at risk of being unable to pay for essentials like water service.
This global health crisis can be an important turning point for addressing longstanding water management challenges, including the failure to provide safe and affordable water and sanitation for all. The surge in interest, along with potentially massive investments by the business community and government to mitigate risks and help ailing economies, could provide a rare opportunity for more effective and equitable water policy and management.
The Pacific Institute is one of the world’s leading water research and policy organizations, and the challenge of ensuring safe and affordable water, sanitation, and hygiene for all has been a focus of ours for decades. We will continue to work with a broad coalition of partners on these issues. Following are some of our recent publications on this topic:
- No COVID-19 Models Are Perfect, But Some Are Useful
- The COVID Crisis is Slashing California’s State Budget. What Does it Mean for Water Management?
- Water in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (“HEROES ACT”) May 2020
- Want to Help Fight COVID-19? List Your Organization’s Work on the Water Action Hub
- How Can the World Avoid the Spread of Future Pandemics?
- When Utilities Shut Off Water for the Poor, We Are All At Risk
- Hand-Washing Is Critical in the Fight Against Coronavirus, but What If You Don’t Have Safe Water?
- Climate-Equitable Water
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Three Essential Ingredients to Resilient Agricultural Supply Chains
- Drinking Fountains and Public Health: Improving National Water Infrastructure to Rebuild Trust and Ensure Access
- Plumbing the Depths: Californians Without Toilets and Running Water
- Measuring Progress Toward Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California: Defining Goals, Indicators, and Performance Measures
- Water Service Disconnections in California
- Exploring the Business Case for Corporate Action on Sanitation
Our researchers are assessing the interconnections between water and human health, including COVID-19. If you are interested in supporting this work financially or through a collaborative partnership, please contact Gunther Korshak, Associate Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about our work on safe and affordable water here.
Explore resources on COVID-19 and water from UN-Water here.