Water sanitation hygiene

Chemical mixtures in source water and drinking-water

This document provides an overview of available tools and practical recommendations to support the assessment and management of risks to human health associated with chemical mixtures in drinking-water and its sources. The guidance builds upon the World Health Organization’s International Programme on Chemical Safety framework on combined exposures to multiple chemicals. The framework supports priority setting for assessing and managing chemical mixtures and its use is illustrated through a number of case studies relevant to the source water and drinking-water context.

GLAAS 2017 report data now available online

13 June 2017 | GENEVA — Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says a new report published by the WHO on behalf of UN-Water.
The report stresses that countries will not meet global aspirations of universal access to safe drinking-water and sanitation unless steps are taken to use financial resources more efficiently and increase efforts to identify new sources of funding.

ADB/WHO handbook on Water safety planning for urban water utilities

ADB/WHO Handbook on WSP for urban utilities cover

This handbook provides practical guidance on integrating the water safety plan (WSP) approach into ADB's urban water projects to facilitate compliance with global good practices. Following the WHO’s Water safety plan manual (2009), adapted to ADB’s operations, this handbook offers step-by-step guidance on developing and implementing a WSP, serving as an example of how external support agencies may integrate WSPs into their urban water programmes.

Global status report on water safety plans

Water safety planning is a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that is widely recognized as the most reliable and effective way to manage drinking-water supplies to safeguard public health.
Based on information gathered from 118 countries representing every region of the globe, this report provides a picture of WSP uptake worldwide. It presents information on WSP implementation and the integration of WSPs into the policy environment. It also explores WSP benefits, challenges and future priorities.

A research agenda for WASH and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

ANTIBIOTICS handle with care logo

The role of WASH is critical in combatting AMR. Achieving universal access to WASH in communities and health facilities will help drive down avoidable antibiotic use. But not enough is known about the extent to which wastewaters (carrying antibiotic residues, resistant bacteria and their genes) are a driver of resistance and what can be done. WHO convened microbiology experts to develop a research agenda for WASH and AMR.

Water, sanitation and hygiene to combat neglected tropical diseases

Water, sanitation and hygiene are essential for preventing and managing diseases including neglected tropical diseases which affect over 1 billion people among the poorest communities. Closer coordination of WASH and NTD programmes is needed to ensure WASH services are reaching the most vulnerable populations. Many WASH and NTD actors have started to work together on the planning and implementation of their projects and have documented their experiences and lessons learnt. This paper compiles examples from eighteen countries to summarize emerging successes and challenges.

Water and sanitation for health facility improvement tool (WASH FIT)

WASH FIT is a risk-based, continuous improvement framework with a set of tools for undertaking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) improvements as part of wider quality improvements in health care facilities. It is aimed at small primary, and in some instances secondary, health care facilities in low and middle income countries. WASH FIT is an adaptation of the water safety plan (WSP) approach, which is recommended in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality as the most effective way of ensuring continuous provision of safe drinking-water.

Kolkata's fishermen and farmers reuse what’s flushed down the toilet

22 MARCH 2017 – Most people don’t think about what happens to their excreta when they flush the toilet or pour water down the latrine. But, for fisherman and farmers in Kolkata, India, excreta provides a natural fertilizer for their crops, food for their fish and an income to provide for their families. "The challenge now is ensuring wastewater is treated and reused safely", says Payden, sanitation engineer at WHO South-East Asia Regional Office.

World Water Day 2017: Why waste water

Safe treatment and use of wastewater is fundamental to protecting public health.
Join the global campaign for World Water Day on 22nd March by downloading a sharing campaign materials and organising an event to highlight SDG 6.3 “…halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re­use by 2030.”
Learn more from WHO factsheets videos and tools on wastewater and health.

About us

WHO works on aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) where the health burden is high and where evidence-based interventions could make a major difference.

Further information