On-plot drinking water supplies and health: a systematic review

Alycia Overbo, Ashley Williams, Barbara Evans, Paul Hunter, Jamie Bartram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
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Many studies have found that household access to water supplies near or within the household plot can reduce the probability of diarrhea, trachoma, and other water-related diseases, and it is generally accepted that on-plot water supplies produce health benefits for households. However, the body of research literature has not been analyzed to weigh the evidence supporting this. A systematic review was conducted to investigate the impacts of on-plot water supplies on diarrhea, trachoma, child growth, and water-related diseases, to further examine the relationship between household health and distance to water source and to assess whether on-plot water supplies generate health gains for households. Studies provide evidence that households with on-plot water supplies experience fewer diarrheal and helminth infections and greater child height. Findings suggest that water-washed (hygiene associated) diseases are more strongly impacted by on-plot water access than waterborne diseases. Few studies analyzed the effects of on-plot water access on quantity of domestic water used, hygiene behavior, and use of multiple water sources, and the lack of evidence for these relationships reveals an important gap in current literature. The review findings indicate that on-plot water access is a useful health indicator and benchmark for the progressive realization of the Sustainable Development Goal target of universal safe water access as well as the human right to safe water.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317–330
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Issue number4-5
Early online date19 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • water supply
  • diarrheal disease
  • child nutritional status
  • geohelminth
  • Sustainable Development Goals

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