Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

The Problem of Water and Sanitation on the Example of India and Russia


Despite the efforts of the United Nations General Assembly to promote sustainability as a vehicle of resource management and tackle social inequalities through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the challenges remain. Therefore, the need to solve the fundamental problem of life “water-energy-food” (henceforth WEF) creates the basis for an integrated approach to eliminating the obstacles that arise on the path of sustainable life evolution on Earth. The WEF concept based on a socio-ecological systemic approach is a platform for the most rational approach to solving complex problems and adapting to climate change. At the same time it contributes to regional economic development. Taking examples from India and Russia, this commentary aims to highlight the challenges of water and sanitation of the world.


Water; Sanitation; Ecology; Diarrhoea; Climate; India; Russia



  1. Adeyeye, S. A. O., Adebayo-Oyetoro, A. O., & Tiamiyu, H. K. (2017). Poverty and malnutrition in Africa: A conceptual analysis. Nutrition & Food Science, 47(6), pp. 754–764. DOI:
  2. Ahs, J., Tao, W., Löfgren, J., & Forsberg, B. (2010). Diarrheal Diseases in Low-and Middle-Income Countries: Incidence, Prevention and Management. The Open Infectious Diseases Journal, 4, pp. 113–124. DOI:
  3. Augsburg, B., & Rodríguez-Lesmes, P. A. (2018). Sanitation and child health in India. World Development, 107, pp. 22–39 DOI:
  4. Bain, L. E., Awah, P. K., Geraldine, N., Kindong, N. P., Sigal, Y., Bernard, N., & Tanjeko, A. T. (2013). Malnutrition in Sub – Saharan Africa: Burden, causes and prospects. The Pan African Medical Journal, 15, pp. 120. DOI:
  5. Bhattacharyya, R., & Pulla, V. (2019). Prime Minister Modi Returns, 2019: New Governance Agenda. Space and Culture, India, 7(1), 1-14. DOI:
  6. Bozzoli, C., Deaton, A., & Quintana-Domeque, C. (2009). Adult Height and Childhood Disease. Demography, 46(4), pp. 647–669. DOI:
  7. Coffey, D., Gupta, A., Hathi, P., Khurana, N., Spears, D., Srivastav, N., & Vyas, S. (2014). Revealed preference for open defecation: Evidence from a new survey in rural north India. Economic and Political Weekly, 49(38), pp. 43–55.
  8. Colombara, D. V., Khalil, I. A.-M., Rao, P. C., Troeger, C., Forouzanfar, M. H., Riddle, M. S., & Mokdad, A. H. (2016). Chronic Health Consequences of Acute Enteric Infections in the Developing World. The American Journal of Gastroenterology Supplements, 3(2), pp. 4. DOI:
  9. Conway, D., Archer, E., Deryng, D., Dorling, S., Krueger, T., Landman, W., & Dalin, C. (2015). Climate and southern Africa’s water–energy–food nexus. Nature Climate Change, 5, pp. 837–846. DOI:
  10. Dandabathula, G., Bhardwaj, P., Burra, M., Rao, P. V. V. P., & Rao, S. S. (2019). Impact assessment of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission – Clean India Campaign on acute diarrheal disease outbreaks: Yes, there is a positive change. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 8(3), pp. 1202-1208. DOI:
  11. Gaber, N. (2019). Mobilizing Health Metrics for the Human Right to Water in Flint and Detroit, Michigan. Health and Human Rights, 21(1), pp. 179–189.
  12. General Assembly. (2010). General Assembly Adopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Water, Sanitation as Human Right, by Recorded Vote of 122 in Favour, None against, 41 Abstentions | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  13. Ghosh, S. K. (Ed.). (2018). Waste Management and Resource Efficiency: Proceedings of 6th IconSWM 2016. Springer Singapore. DOI:
  14. Guerrant, R., Kosek, M., Lima, A., Lorntz, B., & Guyatt, H. (2002). Updating the DALYs for diarrhoeal disease. Trends Parasitol, (18), pp. 191–193. DOI:
  15. Gupta, A., Khalid, N., Desphande, D., Hathi, P., Kapur, A., Srivastav, N., & Coffey, D. (2019). Changes in Open Defecation in Rural North India: 2014-2018 (Working Paper No. 12065).
  16. Howell, S., Doan, M. D., & Harbin, A. (2017). Detroit to Flint and Back Again: Solidarity Forever: Critical Sociology, 45(1), pp. 63–83. DOI:
  17. Huck, P. M. (2000). The Past, Present and Future of Water Treatment – A Conceptual Perspective. In: Water Supply and Water Quality: Proc. 4th Int. Сonf. Krakow, pp. 23–28.
  18. International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (IIIE). (2009). Running water, working toilets and safe hygiene practices: Essential services to save lives. 3ie Brief No. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  19. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). (2015). Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy and Food Nexus. pp. 128.
  20. Jenkins, M. W., Freeman, M. C., & Routray, P. (2014). Measuring the Safety of Excreta Disposal Behavior in India with the New Safe San Index: Reliability, Validity and Utility. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(8), pp. 8319–8346. DOI:
  21. Lakshmi, R. (2015). India is building millions of toilets, but that’s the easy part. Washington Post. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  22. Lin, A., Arnold, B. F., Afreen, S., Goto, R., Huda, T. M. N., Haque, R., & Luby, S. P. (2013). Household Environmental Conditions Are Associated with Enteropathy and Impaired Growth in Rural Bangladesh. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 89(1), pp. 130–137. DOI:
  23. Loevinsohn, M., Mehta, L., Cuming, K., Nicol, A., Cumming, O., & Ensink, J. H. J. (2015). The cost of a knowledge silo: A systematic re-review of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. Health Policy and Planning, 30(5), pp. 660–674. DOI:
  24. Luh, J., Royster, S., Sebastian, D., Ojomo, E., & Bartram, J. (2017). Expert assessment of the resilience of drinking water and sanitation systems to climate-related hazards. Science of The Total Environment, 592, pp. 334–344. DOI:
  25. Mabhaudhi, T., Mpandeli, S., Madhlopa, A., T. Modi, A., Backeberg, G., & Nhamo, L. (2016). Southern Africa’s Water–Energy Nexus: Towards Regional Integration and Development. Water, 8, pp. 235. DOI:
  26. Mack, E. A., & Wrase, S. (2017). A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States. PLoS ONE, 12(1), e0169488. DOI:
  27. Mbuya, M. N. N., & Humphrey, J. H. (2016). Preventing environmental enteric dysfunction through improved water, sanitation and hygiene: An opportunity for stunting reduction in developing countries. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 12(Suppl Suppl 1), pp. 106–120. DOI:
  28. McCarthy, N. (2018). India’s Toilet-Building Revolution. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  29. Menezes, G. A., Harish, B. N., Khan, M. A., Goessens, W. H. F., & Hays, J. P. (2012). Antimicrobial resistance trends in blood culture positive Salmonella Typhi isolates from Pondicherry, India, 2005–2009. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 18(3), pp. 239–245. DOI:
  30. Mohanan, M., Giardili, S., Das, V., Rabin, T. L., Raj, S. S., Schwartz, J. I., & Vera-Hernández, M. (2017). Evaluation of a social franchising and telemedicine programme and the care provided for childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia, Bihar, India. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 95(5), pp. 343-352. DOI:
  31. Mokienko, A. V. (2014). Disinfection of water: The need for analysis and solution of fundamental and applied problems. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 93(1), 15–18. (In Russ.).
  32. Nandi, A., Megiddo, I., Ashok, A., Verma, A., & Laxminarayan, R. (2017). Reduced burden of childhood diarrheal diseases through increased access to water and sanitation in India: A modeling analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 180, pp. 181–192. DOI:
  33. Nhamo, L., Ndlela, B., Nhemachena, C., Mabhaudhi, T., Mpandeli, S., & Matchaya, G. (2018). The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Climate Risks and Opportunities in Southern Africa. Water, 10(5), pp. 567. DOI:
  34. Onishchenko, G. G. (2010). On the state and measures to ensure the safety of domestic and drinking water supply to the population of the Russian Federation. Hygiene and Sanitation, (3), pp. 4–7. (In Russ.).
  35. Pinfold, J. V., Horan, N. J., & Mara, D. D. (1991). Seasonal Effects on the Reported Incidence of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease in Northeast Thailand. International Journal of Epidemiology, 20(3), pp. 777–786. DOI:
  36. Rakhmanin, Yu. A., Ivanova, L. V., Artemova, T. Z., Gipp, E. K., Zagainova, A. V., Maksimkina, T. N., & Aleshnya, V. V. (2016). The value of sanitary-microbiological indicators in assessing the epidemic safety of water use in the conditions of chemical pollution of water bodies. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 95(10), pp. 934–938. (In Russ.). DOI:
  37. Rakhmanin, Yu. A., Krasovskiy, G. N., Egorova, N. A., & Mikhaylova, R. I. (2014). 100 years of legislative regulation of drinking water quality, retrospective, current status and prospects. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 93(2), pp. 5–17. (In Russ.).
  38. Rakhmanin, Yu. A., & Malysheva, A. G. (2013). The development concept of the state system of chemical and analytical monitoring of the environment. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 92(6), pp. 4–9. (In Russ.).
  39. Rakhmanin, Yu. A., Meltzer, A. V., Kiselev, A. V., & Erastova, N. V. (2017). Hygienic substantiation of management decisions using the integrated assessment of drinking water in terms of chemical safety and epidemiological safety. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 96(4), pp. 302–305. (In Russ.). DOI:
  40. Rakhmanin, Yu. A., & Mikhaylova, R. I. (2014). Environment and health: Priorities for preventive medicine. Gigiena i Sanitariya, 93(5), pp. 5–10. (In Russ.).
  41. Ramani, S. V. (2016). Why It’s Easier for India to Get to Mars than to Tackle Its Toilet Challenge—Our World. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  42. Ravindra, K., & Smith, K. R. (2018). Better kitchens and toilets: Both needed for better health. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(13), pp. 12299–12302. DOI:
  43. Riddle, M., DuPont, H., & Connor, B. (2016). ACG Clinical Guideline: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Acute Diarrheal Infections in Adults. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 111(5), pp. 602–622. DOI:
  44. Russian Federal Law #52 (dated 30.03.1999). On Sanitary and Epidemiological Welfare of the Population. (1999). Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  45. SBM. (2019). Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  46. SBM-G. (2019). Guidelines for Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  47. SBM-U. (2017). Guidelines for Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  48. Sharma, N. C. (2019). Swachh Bharat Mission improved health and nutrition: Economic Survey. Available at Https:// website: [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  49. UN. (2008). UN International Year of Sanitation. Available at [Accessed on June 30, 2008]
  50. UN. (2014). Realizing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation: A Handbook by the UN Special Rapporteur Catarina De Albuquerque. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  51. UN. (2018). The Sustainable Development Goals Report. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  52. UN. (2019). Population. Our growing population. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  53. United Nations (UN). (2000). United Nations Millennium Declaration, 55/2. Social Policy: Essential Primary Sources. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  54. Victora, C. G., Adair, L., Fall, C., Hallal, P. C., Martorell, R., Richter, L., … & Group, for the M. and C. U. S. (2008). Maternal and child undernutrition: Consequences for adult health and human capital. Lancet, 371(9609), pp. 340–357. DOI:
  55. Walker, S. P., Wachs, T. D., Grantham-McGregor, S., Black, M. M., Nelson, C. A., Huffman, S. L., & Richter, L. (2011). Inequality in early childhood: Risk and protective factors for early child development. The Lancet, 378(9799), pp. 1325–1338. DOI:
  56. Water Aid. (2007). Annual Report 2006-2007. Available at [Accessed on June 30, 2008]
  57. WHO. (2010). World health statistics. 177. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  58. WHO. (2018). World Health Organization, Health gains from the Swachh Bharat initiative. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  59. WHO (2015). Lack of sanitation for 2.4 billion people is undermining health improvements. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  60. WHO (2011). Guidelines for drinking-water quality (4th ed). Available at;jsessionid=B8899B12B2CC6A80721A1CD491F6E77A?sequence=1. [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  61. World Health Organization (WHO), & UNICEF. (2015). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  62. WSSCC, WaterAid, & Unilever. (2013). We Can’t Wait. A report on sanitation and hygiene for women and girls. Available at [Accessed on June 29, 2019]
  63. Zavarzin, G. A. (1990). Correlation of phylogenetic and ecological classification of prokaryotes. Zhurnal Obshchei Biologii, 51(5), pp. 590–600. (In Russian).


Download data is not yet available.