In the World - Clean Water and Sanitation

FIU has delivered clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to countries throughout the world while also conducting research to protect water quality and water security. 

Clean Water and Sanitation

FIU is working across all targets set by the United Nations General Assembly in Sustainable Development Goal 6 to deliver solutions for clean water, sanitation and hygiene for people all across the world.

children getting water

6.1 Ensuring access to drinking water

FIU has delivered clean water solutions to places throughout the world including Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caucasus through initiatives funded by USAID. Our International Water Programs provide water management services to people and ecosystems through infrastructure improvements, education, integrated water management policies and research. Find out more on FIU's efforts to ensure access to drinking water. 

child washing hands with water jug

6.2 Improving sanitation and hygiene

FIU has delivered sanitation and hygiene solutions to countries throughout the world including Ghana, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Mozambique through initiatives supported by USAID. These efforts included a particular focus on gender equality and the responsibilities women in developing countries often shoulder, including promoting healthy hygiene practices within their families. Find out more on FIU's efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene. 

Scientists in the Everglades

6.3 Protecting water quality

FIU scientists, through research and action, are preventing and reducing water pollution of all kinds including nutrient, plastics and microplastics, PFAS forever chemicals, oil and industrial contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and other debris. With a campus on Biscayne Bay and one on the edge of the Florida Everglades, protecting and preserving water quality is a way of life at FIU. Find out more on FIU's effort to protect water quality.

Donoso giving presentation

6.4 Improving water security

The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security in FIU’s Institute of Environment is charged with bringing together research and education to address regional, national and global water security issues, through innovative interdisciplinary research and partnerships for sustainability. Find out more on FIU's efforts to improve water security.

Crowl giving presentation

6.5 Implement integrated water resources management

FIU has delivered clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to countries throughout the world for more than a decade. FIU has focused on low-cost solutions, community engagement and government collaborations to help improve water management practices along with healthier and more sustainable communities. Find out more on FIU's efforts to implement integrated water resources management. 

Scientist working in the Everglades

6.6 Protect and restore ecosystems

In collaboration with local and international partners, FIU research has led to expanded protections for endangered species and adaptive management of freshwater, coastal and marine resources. Find out more on FIU's efforts to protect and restore ecosystems.

Anderson and community

6.a-b Supporting communities

FIU is more than a top research institution. Our researchers are committed to putting their work into action. The International Water Programs in the Institute of Environment are focused on improving the lives of people in developing countries, empowering communities and protecting water resources for all. Find out more on FIU's efforts to support communities.

Target 6.1 Ensuring access to drinking water

By 2023, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

  • International Water Programs

    FIU has delivered clean water solutions to countries throughout the world including Ghana, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Mozambique through initiatives supported by USAID.

    Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso
    This FIU-led and USAID-supported project increased access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene in Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Our team introduced water and sanitation technology as well as promoted better hygiene at the community level through education. We used experiences from this project to develop models that could be scaled to other regions in Africa.

    Ecuador and Peru
    The Pastaza River basin begins in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and ends at the Marañon River in Peru, which carries its waters into the Amazon. The lives of thousands of people are closely tied to the Pastaza River’s resources. A team led by FIU established the regular collection of water data to be used by local authorities and formed local committees to participate in effective water management. The project also developed a fisheries management plan, advanced sound petroleum exploration management and promoted collaboration among native communities on both sides of the border.

    Rwanda
    FIU’s Rwanda Integrated Water Security Program was designed to improve the sustainable management of water quantity and quality to positively impact human health, food security, and resiliency to climate change for vulnerable populations in targeted catchments in Rwanda. The project included low-cost and innovative technologies for water supply, sanitation and agriculture in Rwanda, along with multiple-use water services, sanitation marketing and product/supply chain development. Simultaneously, program managers worked with local communities to educate and improve individual hygiene behaviors.

    Tanzania
    In the Wami Ruvu basin, FIU worked with local governments and NGOs to maximize the supply of clean safe water for basic needs while also creating opportunities for business ventures among local villagers so clean water could be a financial benefit in addition to a necessity. Micro-lending at the village level encouraged private investment. This effort helped foster 27 new village micro-savings and micro-financing programs that serve more than 25,000 people in the area. More than 70 water access points have been created serving some 16,000 people, and more than 20,000 people have completed sanitation and hygiene education.

    Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique
    Sub-Saharan African countries have large, well-experienced regional, national and international organizations in the water delivery, sanitation and hygiene field, yet local organizations lack the necessary technical capacity to solve challenges in these areas. FIU worked with local organizations to close the knowledge gap through technical training and education to help them develop sustainable, state-of-the art, locally tailored approaches to water delivery, sanitation and hygiene.

    Morocco 
    An FIU team traveled to the El-Haouz region of Morocco to increase access to drinking water, improve hygiene practices and encourage collaboration among local authorities to govern water. In the agricultural Doukkala Province, FIU worked with small farmers to improve their water-use practices which led to enhanced livelihoods and improved sustainability. The project brought clean water to hundreds of children in local schools, provided more than 1,000 people with improved access to sustainable water and educated 3,000 people on best hygiene practices.

    India
    FIU worked with local community partners along the Wakal River basin to support equitable access to and sustainable use of water resources. This included facilitating communication and collaboration among stakeholders, while building capacity of basin residents and local governments in water resources management. To improve rainwater harvesting methods, our scientists studied locations of harvesting structures to measure rates of groundwater recharge. We coordinated training sessions for local governments (known as Panchayats) and state-level representatives on topics in integrated water resources management to provide leaders with the tools to make more informed decisions about water management in the Wakal River basin.

Target 6.2 Improving sanitation and hygiene

By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecatio, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those vulnerable situations

  • International Water Programs

    FIU has delivered clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to countries throughout the world including Ghana, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Mozambique through initiatives supported by USAID. These efforts included a particular focus on gender equality and the responsibilities women in developing countries often shoulder, including promoting hygiene practices within the family and retrieving water for their households.

    Tanzania
    In the Wami Ruvu basin, FIU worked with local governments and NGOs to maximize the supply of clean safe water for basic needs while also creating opportunities for business ventures among local villagers so clean water could be a financial benefit in addition to a necessity. Micro-lending at the village level encouraged private investment. This effort helped foster 27 new village micro-savings and micro-financing programs that serve more than 25,000 people in the area. More than 70 water access points have been created serving some 16,000 people, and more than 20,000 people have completed sanitation and hygiene education.

    Morocco 
    An FIU team traveled to the El-Haouz region of Morocco to increase access to drinking water, improve hygiene practices and encourage collaboration among local authorities to govern water. In the agricultural Doukkala Province, FIU worked with small farmers to improve their water-use practices which led to enhanced livelihoods and improved sustainability. The project brought clean water to hundreds of children in local schools, provided more than 1,000 people with improved access to sustainable water and educated 3,000 people on best hygiene practices.

    Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique
    Sub-Saharan African countries have large, well-experienced regional, national and international organizations in the water delivery, sanitation and hygiene field, yet local organizations lack the necessary technical capacity to solve challenges in these areas. FIU worked with local organizations to close the knowledge gap through technical training and education to help them develop sustainable, state-of-the art, locally tailored approaches to water delivery, sanitation and hygiene.

    Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso
    This FIU-led and USAID-supported project increased access to safe water and sanitation and improved hygiene in Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Our team introduced water and sanitation technology as well as promoted better hygiene at the community level through education. We used experiences from this project to develop models that could be scaled to other regions in Africa.

    Rwanda
    FIU’s Rwanda Integrated Water Security Program was designed to improve the sustainable management of water quantity and quality to positively impact human health, food security, and resiliency to climate change for vulnerable populations in targeted catchments in Rwanda. The project included low-cost and innovative technologies for water supply, sanitation and agriculture in Rwanda, along with multiple-use water services, sanitation marketing and product/supply chain development. Simultaneously, program managers worked with local communities to educate and improve individual hygiene behaviors.

Target 6.3 Protecting water quality

By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

  • CREST Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment

    FIU’s Institute of Environment features the CREST Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment, where faculty and students focus on detecting and researching the impacts of toxic substances including microplastics, pesticides, industrial chemicals, oil, pharmaceuticals, nutrients and metals in the water. The NSF-supported center of research excellence includes researchers from FIU architecture, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth systems, public health and engineering. The center funds graduate fellowships and provides opportunities for students to earn micro-credentials in next-generation skills needed to understand complex environmental problems, including robotics, innovative sensor development, big-data analytics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

  • Pharmaceutical Contamination

    Our environmental scientists led the first study of its kind that discovered pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. With approximately 5 billion prescriptions filled each year in the United States and no environmental regulations for their disposal, this wastewater contamination is an invisible threat that can affect fish behavior, reproduction and survival. As the researchers advocate to expand and modernize wastewater treatment and sewage infrastructure, they are expanding their research to other marine animals and regions.

  • Forever Chemicals

    FIU chemists are investigating distribution of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in major watersheds and canal systems to advance strategies for controlling and reducing these forever chemicals in water systems. They are also examining concentrations of PFAS in oysters to determine the extent of contamination in wildlife and the food chain.

    Our scientists are among the first to measure the local distribution and level of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl in Florida.

Target 6.4 Improving water security

By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

  • UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security

    The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security in FIU’s Institute of Environment is charged with bringing together research and education to address regional, national and global water security issues, through innovative interdisciplinary research and partnerships for sustainability. This statement coincides with UNESCO's Mission Statement in reference to the pursuit of sustainable development and poverty eradication through education, the sciences, knowledge and information sharing. The long-term development objective of this program is to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals by supporting equitable availability and sustainable management of water.

    Ongoing Activities

    • Contributing to a Special Publication on the 50 years of UNESCO- Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme in the Americas
    • Coordinating and facilitating negotiations for the establishment of the dual Ph.D. Program FIU-University of Florence
    • Supporting and facilitating the establishments of memorandums of understanding (MOU) and subsequent joint applied research and/or academic programs with universities in Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal and India 
    • Facilitating the establishment of an applied collaborative research program between FIU and Ecuador
    • Coordinating the organization of the FIU Institute of Environment Conference on Water and Environment Security
    • Facilitating the establishment of a UNESCO GRAPHIC monitoring site in Belize

     

    Accomplished Activities

    • Co-Authored the World Water Forum VIII report South Africa
    • Coordinated and edited an Aqua-LAC Special Number on Haiti
    • Coordinated the Establishment of MOU FIU-University of Perugia, based on UNESCO Chairs cooperation
    • Coordinated the Establishment of MOU FIU-Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (Dominican Republic)
    • In collaboration with a private foundation supported the Bi-annual Meeting of IHP-LAC
    • Presentation of the Chair in Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Mexico, Haiti, Italy, Private Sector France

Target 6.5 Implement integrated water resources management

By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

  • International Water Programs

    FIU has delivered clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to countries throughout the world through initiatives supported by USAID. These efforts have focused on low-cost solutions, community engagement and government collaborations. The result has been improved water management practices along with healthier and more sustainable communities. 

    Tanzania
    In the Wami Ruvu basin, FIU worked with local governments and NGOs to maximize the supply of clean safe water for basic needs while also creating opportunities for business ventures among local villagers so clean water could be a financial benefit in addition to a necessity. Micro-lending at the village level encouraged private investment. This effort helped foster 27 new village micro-savings and micro-financing programs that serve more than 25,000 people in the area. More than 70 water access points have been created serving some 16,000 people, and more than 20,000 people have completed sanitation and hygiene education.

    Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique
    Sub-Saharan African countries have large, well-experienced regional, national and international organizations in the water delivery, sanitation and hygiene field, yet local organizations lack the necessary technical capacity to solve challenges in these areas. FIU worked with local organizations to close the knowledge gap through technical training and education to help them develop sustainable, state-of-the art, locally tailored approaches to water delivery, sanitation and hygiene.

    Morocco 
    An FIU team traveled to the El-Haouz region of Morocco to increase access to drinking water, improve hygiene practices and encourage collaboration among local authorities to govern water. In the agricultural Doukkala Province, FIU worked with small farmers to improve their water-use practices which led to enhanced livelihoods and improved sustainability. The project brought clean water to hundreds of children in local schools, provided more than 1,000 people with improved access to sustainable water and educated 3,000 people on best hygiene practices.

    Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso
    This FIU-led and USAID-supported project increased access to safe water and sanitation as well as improved hygiene in Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Our team introduced water and sanitation technology and promoted better hygiene at the community level through education. We used experiences from this project to develop models that could be scaled to other regions in Africa.

    Rwanda
    FIU’s Rwanda Integrated Water Security Program was designed to improve the sustainable management of water quantity and quality to positively impact human health, food security, and resiliency to climate change for vulnerable populations in targeted catchments in Rwanda. The project included low-cost and innovative technologies for water supply, sanitation and agriculture in Rwanda, along with multiple-use water services, sanitation marketing and product/supply chain development. Simultaneously, program managers worked with local communities to educate and improve individual hygiene behaviors.

    India
    FIU worked with local community partners along the Wakal River basin to support equitable access to and sustainable use of water resources. This included facilitating communication and collaboration among stakeholders, while building capacity of basin residents and local governments in water resources management. To improve rainwater harvesting methods, our scientists studied locations of harvesting structures to measure rates of groundwater recharge. We coordinated training sessions for local governments (known as Panchayats) and state-level representatives on topics in integrated water resources management to provide leaders with the tools to make more informed decisions about water management in the Wakal River basin.

    Ecuador and Peru
    The Pastaza River basin begins in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador and ends at the Marañon River in Peru, which carries its waters into the Amazon. The lives of thousands of people are closely tied to the Pastaza River’s resources. A team led by FIU established the regular collection of water data to be used by local authorities and formed local committees to participate in effective water management. The project also developed a fisheries management plan, advanced sound petroleum exploration management and promoted collaboration among native communities on both sides of the border.

    Georgia
    In this South Caucasus region of Europe, most of the population has access to potable water. The biggest issues here are waste management and conservation. Many surface waters are severely polluted, forests are illegally logged and grasslands are overgrazed. Inappropriate irrigation and agricultural practices have degraded large areas of arable land through erosion and salinization of soils. FIU worked with local officials to protect the water supply and promote the benefits of preserving the country’s abundant natural resources.

Target 6.6 Protect and restore ecosystems

By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

  • East African Mountain Bongo Antelope

    Through an international collaborative effort, our scientists are working to save Kenya’s Mountain Bongo Antelope, the largest and most endangered antelope. Through an innovative project that is repatriating captive stock to a Kenyan preserve, our efforts are helping to protect Mt. Kenya and with it, the high-mountain ecosystem that supplies 80 percent of Kenya’s people with clean, fresh water.

Target 6.a-b Supporting communities

By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

Featured Scientists


Todd Crowl

Dr. Crowl is an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of ecology, urban stream ecology and aquatic ecosystems, who has presented solutions about environmental threats to the White House. He is principal investigator on an NSF-funded project (CREST CAChE) focused on aquatic chemistry and water contamination, and also serves as director of the FIU Institute of Environment.

Elizabeth Anderson

Dr. Anderson has spent her career studying the Amazon River. As principal investigator of several collaborative initiatives across South America, her work connects the people who live, work and rely on the Amazon to scientists, government authorities and local conservation partners.

Assefa Melesse

Dr. Melesse’s work is dedicated to safeguarding precious water resources, including the understudied upper Nile River. Specializing on hydrological modeling, he is one of the World’s Top 2 Percent of Scientists in the Alper-Doger Scientific Index Rankings for International Water Resources Engineering.

Maria Donoso

Dr. Donoso holds the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security at FIU and leads the Institute of Environment’s International Water Programs. Her work focuses on integrated water resources management. She also recently served as interim director for UNESCO’s Division of Water Sciences in Paris.

Piero Gardinali

Dr. Gardinali is the associate director of the Institute of Environment and an expert in the fields of environmental chemistry, water quality monitoring and water sustainability, including identifying microplastics. He specializes in the detection of pollutants and contaminants in waterways.

Dr. Shlomi Dinar

Dr. Dinar studies international environmental politics, security, and negotiation, including the conflict and cooperation over transboundary rivers. He also works on the linkages between climate change and international water issues. 

Jennifer Rehage

Dr. Rehage investigates the health of Florida’s recreational fish and fisheries studying how disturbances from natural causes, people and water management affect fish. She recently shocked the world when her research revealed South Florida’s bonefish are testing positive for prescription pharmaceuticals.

Rene Price

Dr. Price is a hydrogeologist using chemical tracers to track water flow and chemistry throughout the hydrologic cycle. She also investigates water-rock interactions in carbonate aquifers, seawater intrusion and sea level rise. 

Dr. Briceno

Dr. Briceño focuses on how our changing climate is impacting our waterways and the impacts that people and nature have on our ecological systems. He also leads the Institute of Environment’s Water Quality Monitoring Network.

Dr. Reinaldo Garcia

Dr. Garcia is a senior engineer and researcher modeling flow, sediment and pollutant transport. He has participated in hundreds of watershed, river, coastal, groundwater, and pollutant dispersion modeling studies worldwide.