Urban water supply schemes in developing countries are often based
on high Western standards of quantity and quality. Since developing
countries have limited resources this results in fewer schemes and lower
population coverage. The worst sufferers are the millions of urban
poor and rural dwellers. This thesis investigates the possibility of
adopting lower levels of service for urban areas in terms of both quantity
and quality in order to serve more people with the same resources.
An idealized model represents domestic water use as a function of
twenty-three economic, physical, social, technological, geographical,
cultural and religious factors. Consequently the demand for domestic
water should be determined locally instead of directly adopting any
borrowed standard. A procedure is outlined for determining it. A
study of domestic water use by a family in Britain leading an Asian way
of life indicates a per capita use of 72 litres per day.
An extensive review of literature on water and health suggests that
the supplied quantity of water should be sufficient to meet all the basic
domestic needs including laundering in order to prevent people going to
polluted sources. Health benefits appear to be significant with house
connections. Water supply is not the only necessary input for improving
health. Otner important inputs include safe excreta disposal, health
education and proper nutrition. While water quality is important for
classical water-borne diseases, water quantity appears to be more important
for diseases like shigellosis and infections of skin and eyes.
Developing countries should adopt flexible water quality goals based
on an appraisal of the prevailing disease patterns and bacteriological
quality of water should receive the priority. Outbreaks of diseases due
to poor chemical quality are rare. The dangers of nitrate seem overstated.
The presence of certain trace elements in drinking water' can partially
satisfy the body's daily needs of mineral nutrients.
Domestic metering, conservation oriented pricing and community participation
are considered in detail and are suggested as suitable means of
avoiding wastage, limiting high per capita consumption and conserving
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.