The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Public perception of drinking water safety in South Africa 2002-2009: a repeated cross-sectional study

Wright, J.A., Yang, Hong, Rivett, Ulrike and Gundry, Stephen (2012) Public perception of drinking water safety in South Africa 2002-2009: a repeated cross-sectional study BMC Public Health, 12, (556) (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-556).

Record type: Article


Background: In low and middle income countries, public perceptions of drinking water safety are relevant to promotion of household water treatment and to household choices over drinking water sources. However, most studies of this topic have been crosssectional and not considered temporal variation in drinking water safety perceptions. The
objective of this study is to explore trends in perceived drinking water safety in South Africa and its association with disease outbreaks, water supply and household
Methods: This repeated cross-sectional study draws on General Household Surveys from 2002-2009, a series of annual nationally representative surveys of South African households, which include a question about perceived drinking water safety. Trends in responses to this question were examined from 2002-2009 in relation to reported cholera
cases. The relationship between perceived drinking water safety and organoleptic qualities of drinking water, supply characteristics, and socio-economic and demographic
household characteristics was explored in 2002 and 2008 using hierarchical stepwise logistic regression.
Results: The results suggest that perceived drinking water safety has remained relatively stable over time in South Africa, once the expansion of improved supplies is controlled for. A large cholera outbreak in 2000-02 had no apparent effect on public perception of drinking water safety in 2002. Perceived drinking water safety is primarily related to water taste, odour, and clarity rather than socio-economic or demographic characteristics.
Conclusion: This suggest that household perceptions of drinking water safety in South Africa follow similar patterns to those observed in studies in developed countries. The stability over time in public perception of drinking water safety is particularly surprising,
given the large cholera outbreak that took place at the start of this period.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: July 2012
Organisations: PHEW – P (Population Health), Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)


Local EPrints ID: 341147
ISSN: 1471-2458
PURE UUID: 896e9fda-dd43-4b2e-b5dd-75c233e01901

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 31 Jul 2012 10:34
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:38

Export record


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.