Nicaragua: Water Access, Sanitation, and Natural Disasters

Client: United States Agency for International Development, Nicaragua
Faculty: Natasha Iskander
Team: Matthew Looney, Diane Nosseir, Andrew Quinn, Elizabeth van Dyke
Year: 2010
Despite abundant water resources, contamination, weak institutions, and poor quality infrastructure have left much of Nicaragua without access to safe water and sanitation services. Throughout the country, the rural poor remain the population most in need, often relying on contaminated surface water and inadequate sanitation practices. The government's efforts and those of the international community in the last two decades have yielded little expansion of the current system. The Capstone team was asked to report on this situation for USAID, collecting baseline countrywide data, interviewing individuals from all sectors involved, and surveying recent interventions. Field experience by the Capstone team in Nicaragua demonstrated that Comites de Agua Potable y Saniemento (CAPS) could harbinger change after many years of slow progress in these sectors. Recommendations built on the successes observed in the country and were targeted to areas of severest need with regard to poverty, current access to water and sanitation, and incidence of natural disasters.