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Rural Health & Development at the Food-Water Nexus


Photo credit: 
Karen Wang


Principal Investigator
  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Medicine (CHP/PCOR)
Postdoctoral scholar
Senior Fellow
  • Professor, Earth System Science
  • Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute
  • Associate Professor, by courtesy, Economics
PhD student, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources
Research associate

More than two-thirds of the population in Africa must leave their home to fetch water for drinking and domestic use. It is estimated that some 40 billion hours of labor each year are spent hauling water, a responsibility often borne by women and children. Cutting the walking time to a water source by just 15 minutes can reduce under-five mortality of children by 11 percent, and slash the prevalence of nutrition-depleting diarrhea by 41 percent.

Water resources management, smallholder food production, poverty, and infectious disease are inextricably connected in the world's poorest regions. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) limited access to water for both productive and domestic uses increases vulnerability to infectious diseases, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in SSA. Within these complex linkages, identifying intervention points and constructive policy responses requires an understanding of how and the extent to which freshwater supplies and nutrition jointly influences health outcomes. The proposed project, which involves both place-based empirical research and analysis of secondary data, will explore these water-nutrition-health interconnections. It will identify the extent which, and potential causal mechanisms by which, access to domestic and productive water supplies and associated nutritional benefits affect the progression of both HIV and TB among adults living in rural African households.

Additional information on other of Davis' water and development projects.


Research Materials