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The effects of supplied water quality on human health in an urban development with limited basic subsistence facilities

Domestic unavailability of water supply in South Africa often leads to improper use of supplied or other unsafe sources of water. The relationship between water quality, water availability, water accessibility, water use and incidence of diarrhoea due to these factors, was investigated in this study. The study was conducted in a large low socio-economic developing urban settlement. Reported diarrhoea cases were followed up to establish the water usage pattern of consumers in these particular households. Water was generally obtained from supply at public standpipes and stored in various forms of containers in households. Microbiological indicators were used to assess possible contamination of the water supply. Tests indicated limited instances of faecal and other forms of microbiological contamination in sections of the water-supply network. Indications were also found that the network in this area could intermittently be subjected to pollution from unknown sources although incidences were limited and not prolonged. Tests on the bulk water supply from the utility to the consumer water network indicated no faecal contamination in the bulk supply. In general the supply quality tested indicated no risk to consumers. However, the insanitary condition of containers as well as the manner of storing and handling of the containerised water led to contamination of water supplies. By implication, the system of water supply through public standpipes was conducive to conditions that could lead to contamination of stored water supply in households within the target consumer group. (authors' abstract)

TitleThe effects of supplied water quality on human health in an urban development with limited basic subsistence facilities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsGrabow, W.O.K., Jagals, P., Williams, E.
Paginationp. 373-378 : 2 fig., 4 tab.
Date Published1997-04-01
Keywordsaccess to water, bacteriological quality, diarrhoeal diseases, domestic use, field studies, indicator organisms, low-income communities, public standposts, sdihyg, sdiurb, south africa, water pollution, water storage
Abstract

Domestic unavailability of water supply in South Africa often leads to improper use of supplied or other unsafe sources of water. The relationship between water quality, water availability, water accessibility, water use and incidence of diarrhoea due to these factors, was investigated in this study. The study was conducted in a large low socio-economic developing urban settlement. Reported diarrhoea cases were followed up to establish the water usage pattern of consumers in these particular households. Water was generally obtained from supply at public standpipes and stored in various forms of containers in households. Microbiological indicators were used to assess possible contamination of the water supply. Tests indicated limited instances of faecal and other forms of microbiological contamination in sections of the water-supply network. Indications were also found that the network in this area could intermittently be subjected to pollution from unknown sources although incidences were limited and not prolonged. Tests on the bulk water supply from the utility to the consumer water network indicated no faecal contamination in the bulk supply. In general the supply quality tested indicated no risk to consumers. However, the insanitary condition of containers as well as the manner of storing and handling of the containerised water led to contamination of water supplies. By implication, the system of water supply through public standpipes was conducive to conditions that could lead to contamination of stored water supply in households within the target consumer group. (authors' abstract)

Notes18 ref.
Custom 1241.1

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