New Paper in Sustainability

21 02 2017

A new paper by Shyam Ranganathan, Raj GC, and I was recently published in Sustainability. The paper presents a way to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets through a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to rural water delivery.


Abstract: The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through effective projects and programs. This paper presents a micro-level modeling approach that can quantitatively assess the impacts associated with rural water interventions that are tailored to specific communities. The analysis focuses on how a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to SDG 6 could reinforce a wide range of other SDGs and targets. The multilevel modeling framework provides a generalizable template that can be used in multiple sectors. In this paper, we apply the methodology to a dataset on rural water services from Mozambique to show that community-specific equivalents of macro-level variables used in the literature such as Cost of Illness (COI) avoided can provide a better indication of the impacts of a specific intervention. The proposed modeling framework presents a new frontier for designing projects in any sector that address the specific needs of communities, while also leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in any country. The approach also presents a way for agencies and organizations to design projects or programs that bridge sectors/disciplines (water, irrigation, health, energy, economic development, etc.) to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets.

Citation: Hall, R.P.; Ranganathan, S.; G. C., R.K. A General Micro-Level Modeling Approach to Analyzing Interconnected SDGs: Achieving SDG 6 and More through Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS). Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 314.

New Paper – WTP for VIP Latrines

15 01 2016

We recently published in the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development the final paper related to our MUS research in Senegal. I have provided the abstract to the paper below.2016-01-15_1157

Abstract: In 2015, African ministers established the Ngor Declaration to achieve universal access to adequate sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. Realizing this target will require significant public and private investment. Over the last two decades, there has been increasing recognition that sanitation programs should be demand driven, yet limited information exists about how much rural residents in developing countries are willing to pay for sanitation improvements. This paper applies the contingent valuation approach to evaluate how much households in rural Senegal are willing to pay for a ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine. The analysis uses data from 1,635 household surveys that were conducted in 47 rural communities across four regions in Senegal. The willingness to pay model found that respondents were more willing to pay for a VIP latrine if they had plans to improve their existing latrine, lived in districts located nearer to the capital city of Dakar, were dissatisfied with their existing sanitation service, and were male. The analysis also indicates that the current household contribution of 5% of the costs of constructing a VIP latrine could be increased to 30% with only a modest decline in the number of households willing to pay this amount.

Experience WASH in Malawi – Course Application Open

11 12 2015

If you are a student at Virginia Tech, please consider applying to the Experience WASH in Malawi study abroad course. The course will run from July 11–29, 2016 (Summer II). The application deadline is February 1, 2016.


Public Health Grand Rounds Seminar – 12pm, Oct 22 (Webcast)

19 10 2015

At 12pm on Thursday, October 22, Sophie Wenzel and I will give a seminar on our research group’s work relating to rural water services planning. We will support the presentation with a story map that can be accessed by clicking on the image below.


Since the webcast will not enable viewers to ask questions, I have set up a public Google Doc in which viewers can ask questions or provide feedback/comments. We will do our best to respond to these questions at the end of our presentation. If we run out of time, I will post a written response to questions we were unable to address on this blog.


The MUS-Senegal Trilogy

3 10 2015

Our final paper related to multiple-use water services (MUS) in Senegal was recently published in Water Alternatives. This paper completes our trilogy of papers in which we [1] explore the extent of piped-water-based productive activity occurring in Senegal and how this relates to system performance, [2] study the role of productive water use in women’s livelihoods, and [3] undertake an incremental income-cost (I-C) analysis of whether the theoretical financial benefits to households from additional piped-water-based productive activities would be greater than the estimated system upgrade costs.

These three papers capture the main findings from our study of MUS in Senegal and offer some important empirical research on the emerging concept of MUS.21

Experience WASH in Malawi (Study Abroad)

23 09 2015

If you are a Virginia Tech undergraduate or graduate, please come to the Drillfield today to learn about a new WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) course I will be offering during Summer II, 2016, in partnership with the Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation.static_qr_code_without_logo

To keep up to date on course news, please join the Google group.

Course Flyer


Course Information

Images from MalawiPoster_images

Policy Brief: The Human Right to Domestic and Productive Water

25 08 2015

In 2010, a milestone was reached when the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Yet, water also plays an important role in realizing other human rights such as the right to food and livelihoods, and in realizing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These broader water-related rights have been recognized but not operationalized. This (draft) policy brief argues for a more holistic interpretation of existing international human rights law that supports a broader range of water-related rights. In addition, it raises the question of whether the current formulation of the human right to safe and clean drinking water, could limit development opportunities for people in rural and peri-urban communities who also use water for productive activities around the homestead.

We would welcome any comments you might have on this policy brief that should be viewed as a working draft.