Studies evaluating the benefits of water at home?
I'm looking for studies comparing the benefits (health, social, environmental) of running water at home vs. water at public tap stand or equivalent vs. other sources in a non-emergency context.
With a bit of field experience, it feels obvious that water at home should bring lots of benefits, but I have a hard time proving it.
Any suggestions on where I could find such evidence (academic papers, research reports)?
Two quick points: There are costs also as you need to dispose of the waste water and if you don't there can be major problems - London for instance when they piped in water and forgot the sewers. Also double check quantity vs. quantity debate - I believe the data was reanalysed and found not necessarily to support the larger quantity being the way to go rather than greater quality.
You may want to do a survey / study in your area under local conditions. This could be a benefit to the existing knowledge base.
- Water at home - immediate access anytime (theoretically)
- Water at public fountains - time spent going to the fountain, time waiting in line for water, possible risk of harrassment of children and women who go to the well, contamination of well by careless misuse or degradation of waste water diverting infrastructure, lack of access due to frequent equipment failures, equipment failure due to misuse etc.
- Water from the river - all of the above but much worse.
I cannot point you to definate research on this but I remember discussing the issue during my Master's course, Possibly based on work by Feacham and Cairncross. The outcome, which is rather self evident, was that water use increases the closer it gets to the home. When the water source is far away was the household may be limited to one or two buckets a day. This will stay fairly constant until it gets to relatively close as the family will use the same sized containers. Once it within a few hundred meters the use may increase as the family (usually the women) make more trips to the water point. There is a huge jump when you get an outside water source at the house and another huge jump when you get internal plumbing. The relationship between increased water use and better health is at the same time self evident but difficult to prove as there are so many potential routes for faecal oral contamination. If I remember rightly it was said that there were better health impacts from a large quantity of reasonable quality water than from a small quantity of perfect water as it enabled more personal hygiene, washing after toilet etc.
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