Environmental Health in All Policies

Water Policy Guides

ASTHO has developed a series of policy guides that identify federal, state and local policies, programs, and initiatives that have successfully incorporated a HiAP approach to improve water quality and quantity. HiAP efforts bring together diverse stakeholders to improve health while advancing other goals. There are many ways to integrate HiAP approaches into water management, and the corresponding guides showcase some successful examples. The guides are organized by broad themes, and include more specific program and policy suggestions within each document.

Health in All Policies and Water: An Introduction
Government programs, from local utilities to federal highway projects, can use HiAP to make decisions that account for their services’ and activities’ health impacts. When applied to water programs, HiAP promotes a comprehensive look at how water impacts health, and behooves us to consider upstream solutions to address these impacts. Issues extend beyond meeting safe drinking water standards, and include topics of water affordability, access to an adequate water supply, stable water infrastructure, and availability of safe water for household use and recreation.  

Source Water Protection
When applied to source water protection, a HiAP approach offers unique opportunities to identify the root causes of water contamination and strategies to prevent pollution. This guide discusses threats to our water supplies and examples of collaborative efforts to protect them.

Water Security
Water security refers to the availability of water for basic needs, such as for drinking, bathing, sanitation, and agriculture. Water quality and water quantity are both critical aspects of water security. Stakeholders responsible for ensuring water security are accustomed to cross-sector collaboration, and this guide illustrates how stakeholders from non-health sectors have already incorporated health considerations into their policies and programs. This document also identifies opportunities for public health to collaborate with external partners to mitigate and protect against emerging threats to our water supplies.

Water Justice
Water justice means that everyone has access to clean and safe water, regardless of location, type of water system, or income level. This document discusses water justice and health equity as it relates to source water protection in urban waters, unregulated drinking water and private wells, nutrient pollution, and water affordability.

Healthy Beverages
Water is essential to life. However, when it comes time to choose a beverage, many people turn to sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) over water. This is at the heart of the battle on obesity. Strategies to discourage SSB consumption and encourage more water intake include educational campaigns on SSB risks, limitations on SSB sales, differing placement of SSBs and water in vending machines and restaurants, and taxes on SSBs. This guide discusses some promising upstream strategies and examples for promoting water as the beverage of choice.