Evaluating water quantity, quality, and accessibility in Vellore, India: Implications on enteric disease transmission.
Abstract: According to
the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three people in the world are affected by
water scarcity and the problem is intensifying with population growth, urbanization, and
rise in industrial water use. In addition, WHO estimates that 88% of fatal diarrheal
diseases, affecting predominantly children under the age of five, are attributable to
unsafe water supply, sanit... read moreation, and hygiene. Since India contributes 25% of the world's
child deaths, it is imperative to analyze the factors that influence this statistic.
This study therefore aims to describe water consumption patterns and water quality in
two urban slums and two rural villages in Vellore, India using statistical analysis,
geographic information system (GIS), water quality testing, and focus groups. A total of
71 households, with children under the age of five, participated in the survey and 32
households were directly observed to determine more accurate estimations concerning
patterns of water use, water sources, and distance to source. Results demonstrated
significantly high microbiological contamination at the water source and even higher at
point-of-use, especially in the dry season between February and May. Furthermore, the
dry season also exhibited the highest counts of enteric disease and the lowest
availability of water. The intermittent water supply, which creates episodes of negative
pressure that allows contaminants from the environment into the water source via
intrusion, was primarily observed in the urban areas of Kaspa and RNP. This can explain
the extensive increase of diarrheal cases reported in 2011 in the urban sites compared
to the rural villages of Kattupadi and Kattuputhur. Accordingly, establishing a
comprehensive approach that incorporates water supply, quality, and community
involvement is essential to ensure the safety and sustainability of drinking water
supplies in Vellore, India.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Civil Engineering.
Advisors: Elena Naumova, and David Gute.
Committee: Enku Francis.
Keywords: Environmental engineering, and Environmental health.read less