Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Developing Countries

Photograph of women carrying water alongside a road.

Lacking proper infrastructure for safe drinking water, women and children in Tamale, Ghana walk many kilometers each day carrying heavy loads of water to their families. This situation is mirrored in many other parts of the world. (Photograph courtesy of Jenny VanCalcar. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number

11.479J / 1.851J

As Taught In

Spring 2007



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course deals with the principles of infrastructure planning in developing countries, with a focus on appropriate and sustainable technologies for water and sanitation. It also incorporates technical, socio-cultural, public health, and economic factors into the planning and design of water and sanitation systems. Upon completion, students will be able to plan simple, yet reliable, water supply and sanitation systems for developing countries that are compatible with local customs and available human and material resources. Graduate and upper division students from any department who are interested in international development at the grassroots level are encouraged to participate in this interdisciplinary subject.


This course was jointly developed by Earthea Nance and Susan Murcott in Spring 2006.

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Related Content

Susan Murcott. 11.479J Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Developing Countries. Spring 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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