Debates about water in California, the western U.S., and indeed, worldwide, have traditionally focused on the question of how best to further expand water supply to meet some hypothetical future increase in water demand.
Sanitation is a different story. It is not an exaggeration to say that the one of the biggest health threats children face -- diarrhea -- is precisely due to the fact that 2.4 billion people -- 1 in 3 worldwide -- do not have a good enough place to defecate.
Silas Borden has spent the last five years living on the streets of San Francisco. He's used to making the best with what he has, so when he stumbled upon a bus offering free showers and a toilet, he couldn't resist.
When we first started working in the WASH sector in Zambia, we were using mobile phones and cloud-based data aggregation to engage government workers. We worked through community volunteers and district environmental health technicians. Little did we know, we had only scratched the surface.
Due to open defecation millions of Indians are prone to ill health, threats to their safety, reduced productivity and lower earning potential, resulting in a deepening cycle of poverty -- all for want of basic sanitation facilities.
Where did strangers answer the "call of nature" in Victorian London? At the start of Victoria's reign, options were limited. Some pubs had primitive outdoor "urinals" -- no more than a vertical slab of stone -- but men largely resorted to the nearest alley.
I struggle with the fact that some of my best friends in the world are forced to defecate outside. They belong to the latest generation of poverty-stricken Indians, enduring the indignity of not having a toilet. My friends represent just a handful of the 650 million Indians living without toilets.
November 19th is World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness about the 2.5 billion people who do not have access to improved sanitation. Unfortunately it is a bit of a broken record to talk about the 21,000 children that die around the world each day, as shocking as it is.
Plop! It finally happened. My iPhone fell in the toilet. My husband has warned me many times about keeping my cell phone in my pants' back pocket and I continued to do so. It has fallen on the floor around the bowl too many times to count, but never before did I make the "bulls eye shot."
People are beginning to realize that toilets and sanitation are critical to making sure that we protect hard-won gains and keep up the momentum in all of the more traditionally attractive areas of development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rock-star love-fest with the American Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden last week was hardly a policy address -- Modi's theme was India's potential greatness and his vision of how to enable it.