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Impacts of Intermittent Water Supply on Water Quality in Two Palestinian Refugee Camps

1
Department of Earth and Science, Al Quds University, Jerusalem 20002, West Bank, Palestine
2
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
3
Department of Anthropology, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA
4
1for3.org, Winchester, MA 01890, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(4), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040670
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Use and Scarcity)
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Abstract

We investigated the quality of treated drinking water in Aida Camp and Alazzah Camp, two Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. Water supply in the two camps is intermittent: Water deliveries are first stored in a centrally located community tank before being pumped through distribution networks to users, who then store the water in rooftop tanks. Between March 2016 and June 2017, we examined water quality within the distribution system in the camps, testing 520 samples in Aida Camp and 198 samples in Alazzah Camp for total coliforms, Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, and residual chlorine. We observed deterioration in water quality in both camps, but the deterioration was more pronounced in Aida Camp where 2.5% of community-tank samples, 5.0% of network samples, and 10% of rooftop-tank samples contained one or more colonies (per 100 mL) of total coliform bacteria. In Alazzah Camp, 3.7% of community-tank samples, 2.5% of network samples, and 5% rooftop-tank samples contained one or more colonies (per 100 mL) of total coliform bacteria. E. coli was detected in two samples from Aida Camp and one sample from Alazzah Camp. In both camps, average residual chlorine concentrations were higher in the community tanks than in rooftop tanks. The main factor influencing water quality deterioration in rooftop tanks in Aida Camp appears to be air temperature. We recommend more systematic water testing in the camps and greater transparency in reporting test results to camp residents. View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water quality; intermittent water supply; refugee camps; total coliforms; E. coli; residual chlorine drinking water quality; intermittent water supply; refugee camps; total coliforms; E. coli; residual chlorine
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Alazzeh, S.; Galaitsi, S.E.; Bishara, A.; Al-Azraq, N.; Durant, J.L. Impacts of Intermittent Water Supply on Water Quality in Two Palestinian Refugee Camps. Water 2019, 11, 670.

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