Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

A SURVEY OF HOUSEHOLD WATER QUALITY IN RURAL HAITI

Department

Annis Water Resource Institute

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Life Sciences

Abstract

A randomized survey of drinking water quality in 60 households in rural Haiti (within 9 km of Deschapelles) was performed in May, 2012. The study was conducted in the Artibonite River valley, the location of the initial Cholera outbreak in 2010. Sixty homes were sampled in addition to 20 water sources. The water samples were analyzed for E. coli bacteria, specific conductance, residual chlorine and turbidity. In addition, ethnographic surveys also were conducted to determine cultural and sanitation practices related to water. All families understood that microbes caused disease and the importance of treating their water, yet only 12% were utilizing water treatment technologies. Most of the families reported using chlorination supplies provided by NGOs during the Cholera epidemic but stopped because they lacked the financial means to purchase the supplies and/or the knowledge to chlorinate their water with bleach. Ninety percent of the households that were still treating their water where comprised of women with young children. The median household water concentration of E. coli was 75 mpn/100 mls and 4 households had over 1000 mpn/100 mls. Enteric bacteria concentrations in household water often exceeded the source water levels, suggesting that sanitation practices were impacting home water quality. These results suggest that water quality interventions must include a strong community based educational program to be effective and sustainable.

Conference Name

Geological Society of Americas Southeastern Section 62nd Annual Meeting

Conference Location

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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