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# Comparison and Cost Analysis of Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Requirements versus Practice in Seven Developing Countries

, *

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drinking water, E. coli, coliform, monitoring, cost analysis

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### Abstract

Drinking water quality monitoring programs aim to support provision of safe drinking water by informing water quality management. Little evidence or guidance exists on best monitoring practices for low resource settings. Lack of financial, human, and technological resources reduce a country’s ability to monitor water supply. Monitoring activities were characterized in Cambodia, Colombia, India (three states), Jordan, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda according to water sector responsibilities, monitoring approaches, and marginal cost. The seven study countries were selected to represent a range of low resource settings. The focus was on monitoring of microbiological parameters, such as E. coli, coliforms, and H 2S-producing microorganisms. Data collection involved qualitative and quantitative methods. Across seven study countries, few distinct approaches to monitoring were observed, and in all but one country all monitoring relied on fixed laboratories for sample analysis. Compliance with monitoring requirements was highest for operational monitoring of large water supplies in urban areas. Sample transport and labor for sample collection and analysis together constitute approximately 75% of marginal costs, which exclude capital costs. There is potential for substantive optimization of monitoring programs by considering field-based testing and by fundamentally reconsidering monitoring approaches for non-piped supplies. This is the first study to look quantitatively at water quality monitoring practices in multiple developing countries.

### Most cited references21

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### Global Access to Safe Water: Accounting for Water Quality and the Resulting Impact on MDG Progress

(2012)
Monitoring of progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) drinking water target relies on classification of water sources as “improved” or “unimproved” as an indicator for water safety. We adjust the current Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) estimate by accounting for microbial water quality and sanitary risk using the only-nationally representative water quality data currently available, that from the WHO and UNICEF “Rapid Assessment of Drinking Water Quality”. A principal components analysis (PCA) of national environmental and development indicators was used to create models that predicted, for most countries, the proportions of piped and of other-improved water supplies that are faecally contaminated; and of these sources, the proportions that lack basic sanitary protection against contamination. We estimate that 1.8 billion people (28% of the global population) used unsafe water in 2010. The 2010 JMP estimate is that 783 million people (11%) use unimproved sources. Our estimates revise the 1990 baseline from 23% to 37%, and the target from 12% to 18%, resulting in a shortfall of 10% of the global population towards the MDG target in 2010. In contrast, using the indicator “use of an improved source” suggests that the MDG target for drinking-water has already been achieved. We estimate that an additional 1.2 billion (18%) use water from sources or systems with significant sanitary risks. While our estimate is imprecise, the magnitude of the estimate and the health and development implications suggest that greater attention is needed to better understand and manage drinking water safety.
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### A Summary Catalogue of Microbial Drinking Water Tests for Low and Medium Resource Settings

(2012)
Microbial drinking-water quality testing plays an essential role in measures to protect public health. However, such testing remains a significant challenge where resources are limited. With a wide variety of tests available, researchers and practitioners have expressed difficulties in selecting the most appropriate test(s) for a particular budget, application and setting. To assist the selection process we identified the characteristics associated with low and medium resource settings and we specified the basic information that is needed for different forms of water quality monitoring. We then searched for available faecal indicator bacteria tests and collated this information. In total 44 tests have been identified, 18 of which yield a presence/absence result and 26 of which provide enumeration of bacterial concentration. The suitability of each test is assessed for use in the three settings. The cost per test was found to vary from $0.60 to$5.00 for a presence/absence test and from $0.50 to$7.50 for a quantitative format, though it is likely to be only a small component of the overall costs of testing. This article presents the first comprehensive catalogue of the characteristics of available and emerging low-cost tests for faecal indicator bacteria. It will be of value to organizations responsible for monitoring national water quality, water service providers, researchers and policy makers in selecting water quality tests appropriate for a given setting and application.
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### Progress on sanitation and drinking water 2013 update

(2013)
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### Author and article information

###### Journal
Int J Environ Res Public Health
Int J Environ Res Public Health
ijerph
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
MDPI
1661-7827
1660-4601
18 July 2014
July 2014
: 11
: 7
: 7333-7346
###### Affiliations
The Water Institute, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 148 Rosenau Hall, CB #7431 Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA; E-Mail: jonny.crocker@ 123456unc.edu
###### Author notes
[* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: jbartram@ 123456email.unc.edu ; Tel.: +1-919-966-3934; Fax: +1-919-966-7911.
###### Article
ijerph-11-07333
10.3390/ijerph110707333
4113879
25046632