In July, the World Health Organization and UNICEF published the first assessment of drinking water and sanitation service under the sustainable development goals.

Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton spoke with Catarina Fonseca, head of the international and innovation program at IRC, a water and sanitation organization, about the report’s strengthens and weaknesses as well as the successes and failures that it documents. Fonseca notes that though more people have gained access to water in recent years, those gains are unevenly distributed.

“There has been progress, but the progress is not fast enough, especially on sanitation, to achieve the sustainable development goals,” she says.

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Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton