Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering (PhD)
College, School or Department Name
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
James R. Mihelcic
David W. Watkins
This dissertation addresses sustainability of rapid provision of safe water and sanitation required to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Review of health-related literature and global statistics demonstrates engineers' role in achieving the MDGs. This review is followed by analyses relating to social, environmental, and health aspects of meeting MDG targets.
Analysis of national indicators showed that inadequate investment, poor or nonexistent policies and governance are challenges to global sanitation coverage in addition to lack of financial resources and gender disparity. Although water availability was not found to be a challenge globally, geospatial analysis demonstrated that water availability is a potentially significant barrier for up to 46 million people living in urban areas and relying on already degraded water resources for environmental income.
A daily water balance model incorporating the National Resources Conservation Services curve number method in Bolivian watersheds showed that local water stress is linked to climate change because of reduced recharge. Agricultural expansion in the region slightly exacerbates recharge reductions. Although runoff changes will range from -17% to 14%, recharge rates will decrease under all climate scenarios evaluated (-14% to -27%). Increasing sewer coverage may place stress on the readily accessible natural springs, but increased demand can be sustained if other sources of water supply are developed. This analysis provides a method for hydrological analysis in data scarce regions. Data required for the model were either obtained from publicly available data products or by conducting field work using low-cost methods feasible for local participants.
Lastly, a methodology was developed to evaluate public health impacts of increased household water access resulting from domestic rainwater harvesting, incorporating knowledge of water requirements of sanitation and hygiene technologies. In 37 West African cities, domestic rainwater harvesting has the potential to reduce diarrheal disease burden by 9%, if implemented alone with 400 L storage. If implemented in conjunction with point of use treatment, this reduction could increase to 16%. The methodology will contribute to cost-effectiveness evaluations of interventions as well as evaluations of potential disease burden resulting from reduced water supply, such as reductions observed in the Bolivian communities.
Fry, Lauren M., "WATER RESOURCES, HEALTH, AND THE SUSTAINABILITY OF INTERVENTIONS TO ACHIEVE WATER AND SANITATION TARGETS OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN A CHANGING WORLD", Dissertation, Michigan Technological University, 2010.