Infrastructure alone cannot ensure resilience to weather events in drinking water supplies

Katrina Charles*, Guy Howard, Elena Villalobos Prats, Joshua Gruber, Sadekul Alam, ASM Alamgir, Manish Baidya, Meerjady Sabrina, Farhana Haque, SM Quamrul Hasan, Md Saiful Islam, Dickson Lwetoijera , SG Mahmud, Zahid Hayat Mahmud, Kamal Pasha, Mahmuder Rahman, Ashek Reza, Md Selimuzzaman, Ahmed Sharif, Subodh SharmaJacqueline Thomas, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Climate resilient water supplies are those that provide access to drinking water that is sustained through seasons and through extreme events, and where good water quality is also sustained. While surface and groundwater quality are widely understood to vary with rainfall, there is a gap in the evidence on the impact of weather and extremes in rainfall and temperature on drinking water quality, and the role of changes in water system management. A three-country (Bangladesh, Nepal and Tanzania) observational field study tracked 2353 households clustered around 685 water sources across seven different geographies over 14 months. Water quality (E. coli) data was modelled using GEE to account for clustering effects and repeated measures at households. All types of infrastructure were vulnerable to changes in weather, with differences varying between geographies; protected boreholes provided the greatest protection at the point of collection (PoC). Water quality at the point of use (PoU) was vulnerable to changes in weather, through changes in PoC water quality as well as changes in management behaviours, such as safe storage, treatment and cleaning. This is the first study to demonstrate the impact of rainfall and temperature extremes on water quality at the PoC, and the role that weather has on PoU water quality via management behaviours. Climate resilience for water supplies needs to consider the infrastructure as well as the management decisions that are taking place at a community and household level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number151876
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by UK Aid Direct from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for the benefit of developing countries (Programme Code 203599 ). KC received additional funding from UK Aid Direct from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) (Programme Code 201880 ). However, the views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of or endorsed by FCDO, which can accept no responsibility for such views or information or for any reliance placed on them.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Infrastructure alone cannot ensure resilience to weather events in drinking water supplies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this