WSI seeks to establish a robust, cross-regional comparative research portfolio that addresses the causes and solutions to domestic water and sanitation crises context in which to develop systematized cross-sectional and longitudinal studies with standardized assessments to benchmark and track water and sanitation security conditions at the household scale. Current WSI Associates work in India, Brazil, and the US border region. Our collective research seeks to identify causes and offer evidence-based solutions to stakeholders, communities, and policy makers. Three areas of interest include metrics, determinants, and public health outcomes of water insecurity.
Water security metrics provide the necessary data to assess household level water and sanitation insecurity and assess the functionality rates of development projects and policy interventions. Analogs exist in the area of food security, but such metrics are poorly developed in the area of water insecurity. Therefore, WSI is working toward an internationally accepted and adopted standardized metrics and assessment tools of water insecurity. Our research also investigates pathways or determinants, including the social difference (gender, age, ethnicity), environmental factors, household demography, and governance determinants of water and sanitation insecurity. Strategic partnerships with public health researchers will allow this initiative to build research capacity to provide data-driven, empirically sound models of how different levels of water (in)security may impact the well-being of individuals with diseases (e.g., HIV-AIDS, mental health), contribute to or ameliorate water- and vector-borne disease exposure, dental health, and psycho-social stress as well as food security.