Water Quality and Quantity in Intermittent and Continuous Piped Water Supplies in Hubli-Dharwad, India

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Kumpel, Emily Katherine (2013)
  • Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
  • Subject: Environmental engineering | Civil engineering | 24/7 water supply | household water consumption | intermittent water supply | water distribution system | water quality

In at least 45 low- and middle-income countries, piped water systems deliver water for limited durations. Few data are available of the impact of intermittent water supply (IWS) on the water quality and quantity delivered to households. This thesis examines the impact of intermittently supplied piped water on the quality and quantity of water delivered to residential taps in Hubli-Dharwad, India, when compared to continuous piped water supply. A framework for understanding the pathways through which IWS can impact water quality is first developed. The extent to which contamination occurs in Hubli-Dharwad is quantified by comparing microbial water quality throughout the distribution system in an intermittent system and a continuous system in the same city. The mechanisms affecting water quality in the IWS network in Hubli-Dharwad are identified by measuring changes in water quality over time using continuous measurements from pressure and physico-chemical sensors paired with grab samples tested for indicator bacteria. In the final chapter, a new method of measuring household water consumption in an IWS when supply durations are limited and few metered data are available is developed. This thesis showed that the intermittent supply was frequently subject to contamination in the distribution system and that households with intermittent supply consumed limited quantities of water. While these results demonstrated that converting to a continuous water supply can improve water quality when compared to intermittent supply, this conversion may not be possible in the near future for resource-constrained towns and cities. This thesis contributes to knowledge of the mechanisms causing contamination and constricting water access in IWS systems, which can help improve systems to ensure that people with piped water receive water that is reliable, safe, and sufficient.
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