Summary: Cornell's Center for a Sustainable Future
Topical Lunch on access to clean water
12:30 - 1:30 PM in 300 Rice Hall
It is well known that access to clean water and sanitation can alleviate poverty through several means.
Direct benefits of access include the reduction of illnesses caused by water-borne diseases, and indirect
benefits include socio-economic and environmental improvement as people spend less time gathering
water and/or less money to local water vendors. Similarly, sanitation infrastructure reduces significantly
the pollution of water sources like rivers and lakes. It is therefore not surprising that access to clean
water and sanitation are among the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
However, access to clean water is very unequal throughout the world and within countries. The
problem is especially acute for populations marginalized by, for example, income, gender and/or
ethnicity. In some cases, the main problem is a lack of infrastructure and adequate technology at the
local level. In some cases, however, the problem is political, in the sense that groups do not receive
adequate services because of discrimination.
The aim of the topical lunch is to start interdisciplinary communication among different researchers on
the Cornell campus that ideally will lead toward a coordinated effort of studying the problem of water
access. Specifically the conversation will focus on the following:
- Are participatory practices in planning and implementing water projects conducive to more