In recent years, the longevity and sustainability of water projects, such as rainwater harvesting schemes and boreholes, has been brought to the forefront of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. In this Independent Study, factors that impact the sustainability of water projects are evaluated in hopes to provide future implementers with ways to improve the sustainability of their projects, as well as current implementers to make projects more sustainable today. There are four categories of factors established, Physical Infrastructure, Community Involvement, Rules, and Outside Support, through a review of literature on the subject. Relationships between those four factors and sustainability were examined in the theoretical framework. A two-part, quantitative and qualitative, methodology is utilized to test the importance of these factors. The quantitative portion is a chi-square analysis of these factors on a sample of water projects in northern Ghana. Primary interviews with ten WASH implementers from across the US and Canada are used to understand what they believe makes water projects sustainable. From these interviews, I found that community involvement, especially the presence of buy-in and, outside support ready to assist in conducting repairs to be of paramount importance. I hope that this Independent Study is able to provide a succinct yet comprehensive view of what makes water projects sustainable.


Mariola, Matthew

Second Advisor

Krause, Brooke




Environmental Studies


water project, sustainability, buy-in, borehole

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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