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Article

Intermittent Water Supply Management, Household Adaptation, and Drinking Water Quality: A Comparative Study in Two Chinese Provinces

1
National Center for Rural Water Supply Technical Guidance, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102200, China
2
Department of Population Health Sciences & the Virginia Tech Public Health Program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
3
National Institute of Environmental Health, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 100050, China
4
Shandong Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Jinan 250014, China
5
Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan 430079, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1361; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051361
Received: 3 April 2020 / Revised: 7 May 2020 / Accepted: 8 May 2020 / Published: 12 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Supplying Safe Drinking Water in Rural Communities)
Intermittent water supply (IWS) is a relatively common phenomenon across the world as well as in rural and peri-urban areas across China, though there has been little IWS-focused research from China published to date. IWS consumers typically adopt a range of strategies to cope with insufficient water supply, poor drinking water quality, and associated inconveniences. In this study, we collected a range of data from small-scale utilities and households in two IWS systems and two continuous water supply (CWS) systems, as well as from comparison groups, in Shandong and Hubei provinces. Data collection included water quality testing, interviews, and surveys on behavioral adaptations, coping strategies, water-related health perceptions, and other metrics of consumer satisfaction. Overall, we found that the IWS coping strategies employed in northern China (Shandong) were associated with generally safe, but inconvenient, water access, whereas adaptation strategies observed in southern China (Hubei) appeared to improve convenience, but not water quality. Compared to the CWS comparison groups, we did not observe significant differences in water- and sanitation-related behaviors in the IWS groups, suggesting interventions to increase adaptive and protective behaviors at the household level might further improve safe water access for households living with IWS. Overall, although the water supply infrastructure in these study areas appeared to be in relatively good condition, in contrast to reported data on IWS systems in other countries, we observed multiple risk factors associated with the water treatment and distribution processes in these IWS systems. Among policy recommendations, our results suggest that the implementation of Water Safety Plans in China would likely improve the management of drinking water treatment and, by extension, safe drinking water supply under conditions of IWS. View Full-Text
Keywords: intermittent water supply; drinking water quality; water and sanitation; household adaptation; China intermittent water supply; drinking water quality; water and sanitation; household adaptation; China
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, H.; Cohen, A.; Li, Z.; Lv, S.; He, Z.; Wang, L.; Zhang, X. Intermittent Water Supply Management, Household Adaptation, and Drinking Water Quality: A Comparative Study in Two Chinese Provinces. Water 2020, 12, 1361. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051361

AMA Style

Li H, Cohen A, Li Z, Lv S, He Z, Wang L, Zhang X. Intermittent Water Supply Management, Household Adaptation, and Drinking Water Quality: A Comparative Study in Two Chinese Provinces. Water. 2020; 12(5):1361. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051361

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Hongxing, Alasdair Cohen, Zheng Li, Shibo Lv, Zuan He, Li Wang, and Xinyi Zhang. 2020. "Intermittent Water Supply Management, Household Adaptation, and Drinking Water Quality: A Comparative Study in Two Chinese Provinces" Water 12, no. 5: 1361. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051361

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