What Water Sources are the Safest? Examining Water Quality in Ghana
Using 2012/13 household survey data from Ghana that includes water quality testing, this study tests the hypothesis that the type of water source is not associated with lower risk levels of E. coli in household drinking water.Results of this study show that--while improved water sources are generally safer than unimproved water sources--there is still variation in E. coli levels in improved water sources. Bottled and sachet water was found to be the safest followed by piped water, while boreholes, public taps and protected wells have a greater probability of having high risk levels of E. coli.These findings have relevance at the local, national and international levels. People drinking unsafe water from improved water sources should be aware that their water might not be safe and take steps to treat their water. Additionally, the government of Ghana can use these results to strengthen its National Drinking Water Management Framework as well as focus funding on water sources with lower probabilities of having high risk levels of E. coli. Finally, this study contributes to the body of evidence that not all drinking water is actually safe, which can help inform global monitoring efforts for the Sustainable Development Goals.
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