Water supply and health

Paul R. Hunter, Alan M. MacDonald, Richard C. Carter

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    314 Citations (Scopus)


    A safe, reliable, affordable, and easily accessible water supply is essential for good health, but for several decades almost 1 billion people in developing countries have lacked access to such a supply.
    A poor water supply impacts health by causing acute infectious diarrhoea, repeat or chronic diarrhoea episodes, and nondiarrhoeal disease, which can arise from chemical species such as arsenic and fluoride. It can also affect health by limiting productivity and the maintenance of personal hygiene.
    Reasons for the limited progress towards universal access to an adequate water supply include high population growth rates in developing countries, insufficient rates of capital investment, difficulties in appropriately developing local water resources, and the ineffectiveness of institutions mandated to manage water supplies (in urban areas) or to support community management (in rural areas).
    Strenuous efforts must be made to improve access to safe and sustainable water supplies in developing countries, and, given the health burden on the public and the costs to the health system, health professionals should join with others in demanding accelerated progress towards global access to safe water.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere1000361
    JournalPLoS Medicine
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2010


    • Health
    • Humans
    • Water Supply

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