Assessing Drinking Water Quality at the Point of Collection and within Household Storage Containers in the Hilly Rural Areas of Mid and Far-Western Nepal

D. Daniel, Arnt Diener, Jack van de Vossenberg, Madan Bhatta, Sara J. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Accurate assessments of drinking water quality, household hygenic practices, and the mindset of the consumers are critical for developing effective water intervention strategies. This paper presents a microbial quality assessment of 512 samples from household water storage containers and 167 samples from points of collection (POC) in remote rural communities in the hilly area of western Nepal. We found that 81% of the stored drinking water samples (mean log10 of all samples = 1.16 colony-forming units (CFU)/100 mL, standard deviation (SD) = 0.84) and 68% of the POC samples (mean log10 of all samples = 0.57 CFU/100 mL, SD = 0.86) had detectable E. coli. The quality of stored water was significantly correlated with the quality at the POC, with the majority (63%) of paired samples showing a deterioration in quality post-collection. Locally applied household water treatment (HWT) methods did not effectively improve microbial water quality. Among all household sanitary inspection questions, only the presence of livestock near the water storage container was significantly correlated with its microbial contamination. Households' perceptions of their drinking water quality were mostly influenced by the water's visual appearance, and these perceptions in general motivated their use of HWT. Improving water quality within the distribution network and promoting safer water handling practices are proposed to reduce the health risk due to consumption of contaminated water in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2172
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • E. coli
  • Hilly area
  • Household hygiene
  • Nepal
  • Rural communities
  • Sanitary inspection
  • Water quality

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