How Safe Are Improved Sources? Water Quality and Sanitary Risk in Low and Middle Income Countries

Woman Carrying Water
Photo Credit: Olivier Cassot/UN photo

During the Millennium Development Goals, monitoring of access to safe water has been based on a proxy indicator for safety, the use of an “improved source” of drinking-water. However, many of such sources are not “safe”. This project uses a systematic review methodology to assess the evidence for technology classifications as a means to judge safety in global reporting. Compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality for priority health parameters (arsenic, E. coli and fluoride) will be used to evaluate the safety of different types of improved and unimproved sources in both household and extra-household settings. Levels of contamination and sanitary risk will be used to assess the relative safety of different types of water supply and how this varies between and within countries. The work is being conducted in support of the Joint Monitoring Programme’s Water Working Group.

Water Institute Researchers