A Community-based Bacteriological Study of Quality of Drinking-water and Its Feedback to a Rural Community in Western Maharashtra, India

Prachi V. Tambe, Poonam G. Daswani, Nerges F. Mistry, Appasaheb A. Ghadge, Noshir H. Antia

Abstract


A longitudinal study of the bacteriological quality of rural water supplies was undertaken for a movement towards self-help against diseases, such as diarrhoea, and improved water management through increased community participation. Three hundred and thirteen water samples from different sources, such as well, tank, community standpost, handpumps, percolation lakes, and streams, and from households were collected from six villages in Maharashtra, India, over a one-year period. Overall, 49.8% of the 313 samples were polluted, whereas 45.9% of the samples from piped water supply were polluted. The quality of groundwater was generally good compared to open wells. Irregular and/or inadequate treatment of water, lack of drainage systems, and domestic washing near the wells led to deterioration in the quality of water. No major diarrhoeal epidemics were recorded during the study, although a few sporadic cases were noted during the rainy season. As a result of a continuous feedback of bacteriological findings to the community, perceptions of the people changed with time. An increased awareness was observed through active participation of the people cutting across age-groups and different socioeconomic strata of the society in village activities.

Key words: Community participation; Diarrhoea; Drinking-water; Interventions; Longitudinal studies; Water pollution; Water supply; India

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