Chapter: Household water treatment and safe storage in low-income countries

Elsevier, Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, Volume , 1 January 2019
Goddard F.G.B., Clasen T.F.

Providing safe, reliable, piped-in water to every household is an essential goal, yielding optimal health gains while contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal targets for adequate sanitation, poverty reduction, nutrition, childhood survival, school attendance, gender equality and environmental sustainability. While committed strongly to this goal, and to incremental improvements in water supplies wherever possible, health advocates have called for targeted, interim approaches that will accelerate the heath gains associated with safe drinking water for those whose water supplies are unsafe. One such approach is household water treatment, such as boiling or chlorination, combined with safe storage to prevent contamination during collection, transport and use in the home. This article describes the leading methods for treating and maintaining the microbiological quality of drinking water at the household level followed by a summary of the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the interventions. It reviews the challenges of optimizing coverage and uptake of effective and appropriate household water treatment among vulnerable populations in low-income countries and potential risks associated with climate change.