Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

David Watkins

Committee Member 1

Mark Rouleau

Committee Member 2

Brian Barkdoll


The world has yet to realize universal access to water and sanitation. Various academic and professional fields provide frameworks for understanding water and sanitation access, but none directly consider the impact of community connectivity. Community connectivity refers to the infrastructures linking rural communities with urban centers. These infrastructures fall under the broad categories of transportation, energy, and telecommunication. This paper examines 23 rural Panamanian communities and compares connectivity measures with the functionality of the communities’ rural water and sanitation systems (RWSS). Community connectivity was evaluated with the Community Connectivity Analysis Tool (CCAT), while the water and sanitation systems were evaluated with the Sistema de Información Sobre Agua y Saneamiento Rural (Rural Water and Sanitation Information System, SIASAR). Statistical analysis revealed that commutes with more time spent in automobiles and on foot were linked with lower water system functionality. Infrastructure projects can have many goals from expanding markets to increasing access to education. By understanding what kinds of infrastructure make the biggest impact on RWSS, state and local governments can make wiser investments to better serve rural populations.