Building WaSH Resilience to Climate Change in Tanzania
Planning for climate change adaptation in the health sector in developing countries requires the understanding of how drinking water quality is affected by climate.
Preliminary analyses of the data illustrate some interesting effects of different WaSH interventions on water quality
Dr Fiona Johnson
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) plays a key role in public health. Potential changes in climate, including more intense extreme events, are expected to pose significant challenges to the capacity of WaSH programmes to secure public health. There is thus an emerging need for improving the resilience of WaSH infrastructure and management systems to climate change.
The UNSW Water Research Centre (WRC) is working together with Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) to on a research project to improve our understanding of the interactions of WaSH and climate in Tanzania. This research is funded by UK DFID through the World Health Organization. The research findings will be utilized by the Tanzania Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children to develop future WaSH polices in Tanzania.
Two field campaigns for sampling water quality and climate data have been completed, with further sampling planned through 2017. The water quality data have been collected by IHI at a number of water
sources and households. The UNSW team is working to identify potential relationships between water quality and climate variability, and how these relationships vary for different WaSH infrastructure and household behaviors.
"Preliminary analyses of the data illustrate some interesting effects of different WaSH interventions on water quality," explains Dr. Fiona Johnson, who is leading the UNSW research team on this project. “These relationships will help us understand the sensitivities of the system to future climate changes.”