Water quality management for domestic rainwater harvesting systems in Fiji

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Health risks from drinking rainwater are relatively small in the developing world context, but action is needed to ensure water safety. Water safety plans (WSPs) use an approach to manage water quality that has shown signs of success with public and communal water supplies, but relatively little research has been done to investigate the application of WSPs to self-supply systems. The aim of this paper is to investigate the primary issues surrounding appropriate water quality management of domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH) systems in Fiji and consider how the principles of WSPs can be applied in this context. A qualitative research design was followed, utilising semi-structured interviews with 34 rural households and six key informants, sanitary inspections of DRWH systems and thematic data analysis. A number of challenges, including limited government resources and the limited knowledge and casual attitudes of rural rainwater consumers, constrain the practicality of adopting conventional WSPs at the household level, but steps for improvement can be taken.

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