Contamination of drinking water between source and point-of-use in rural households of South Africa and Zimbabwe: implications for monitoring the Millennium Development Goal for water


Gundry, S.W., Wright, J.A., Conroy, R., du Preez, M., Genthe, B., Moyo, S., Mutisi, C., Ndamba, J. and Potgieter, N. (2006) Contamination of drinking water between source and point-of-use in rural households of South Africa and Zimbabwe: implications for monitoring the Millennium Development Goal for water. Water Practice and Technology, 1, (2) (doi:10.2166/wpt.2006.032).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2006.032

Description/Abstract

Aims: To assess contamination of drinking water in rural Zimbabwe and South Africa
Methods: We conducted a cohort study of 254 children aged 12-24 months in rural South Africa and Zimbabwe.
In dry and wet seasons, we measured water quality, using the indicator organism E. coli, at improved and
unimproved sources, in household storage and drinking cups. We also recorded hygiene and socio-economic
factors for each household.
Results: For improved sources, samples with E. coli counts less than 10 cfu/100ml were as follows: at source:
165 (88%); in household storage 137 (59%); in drinking cups 91 (49%). The corresponding values for unimproved
sources were: source 47 (29%); household storage 32 (19%); drinking cups 21 (18%). This significant
deterioration in microbial quality of water from improved sources was seen in both countries and both survey
rounds.
Conclusion: Although improved sources generally delivered ‘safe’ water at the point-of-supply, 12% of source
samples were contaminated and as such were ‘unsafe’. Furthermore, in household storage, more than 40% of
samples were ‘unsafe’. For monitoring the Millennium Development Goal for water, UNICEF-WHO are assuming
an equivalence between ‘improved’ sources and ‘safe’ water. Our findings suggest that this equivalence may be
unsound.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1751-231X (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: developing countries, household water storage and treatment (HWST), hygiene, intervention, monitoring, regulations.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis
ePrint ID: 55586
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:38
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55586

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