The issues surrounding water services are some of the most critical challenges facing not only the United States, but also the global community today. The Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine of the Institute of Medicine convened a workshop in October 2007, summarized in this volume, to address objectives related to Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services.
One of the objectives of the workshop was to think about the interdependence of environmental health and human health as connected through water. Organizations cannot discuss water without considering the interrelationship of sanitation and hygiene. It is the convergence of these strategies that promotes healthy outcomes for both individuals and the environment.
A second objective of the workshop was to consider how planning, management, and interdisciplinary approaches-including technology, social behavioral issues, gender, health, environment, economic, and political aspects-can be integrated to arrive at sustainable solutions. Many organizations and agencies are trying to forge a path toward sustainable practices in water, but the various sectors utilizing and governing water services are not interconnected. More integration and a greater understanding of holistic approaches are needed.