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Water and Sanitation in the Global South

INTS 4200

The current water governance systems are intertwined with politics and power and prioritize some groups and water uses over others. Worldwide, there are 750 million people who lack basic water access and 2.5 billion who lack sanitation access. Water is life. It sustains ecosystems, it fuels energy and industry, it enables livelihoods, it is essential for food security, health and nutrition, and it is central to many social and spiritual practices. Inadequate access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene practices deepens income poverty, weakens health, undermines education and exacerbates gender inequality. This interdisciplinary course will explore water and sanitation issues in the Global South. Political ecology and the hydo-social cycle will be introduced as concepts for moving beyond technical water and sanitation planning to consider how water is related to broader issues of power, politics, culture, and society. We will learn about practical and applied approaches for planning water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs, discuss interactions between society and water, and critically examine constructions of water scarcity. In this process we will move between scales at the community, river basin, regional and global level. Several special topics will be explored including gender and water, multiple use water services, water privatization, water and culture, WASH technologies, sustainability, health and behavior change. This course will focus on the water needs of communities in the Global South from a perspective of social justice.