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Millennium Development Goal Target 7c (to halve between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of the global population without sustainable access to safe drinking water), was celebrated as achieved in 2012. However, new studies show that we may be prematurely celebrating. Access to safe drinking water may be overestimated if microbial water quality is considered. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between microbial drinking water quality and drinking water source in the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic. This study analyzed microbial drinking water quality data from 409 households in 33 communities. Results showed that 47% of improved drinking water sources were of high to very-high risk water quality, and therefore unsafe for drinking. This study provides evidence that the current estimate of safe water access may be overly optimistic, and microbial water quality data are needed to reliably assess the safety of drinking water.


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Baum, R., G. Kayser, C. Stauber, and M.D. Sobsey. 2013. Assessing the Microbial Quality of “Improved’ Drinking Water Sources: Results from the Dominican Republic. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 90: 121-123. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0380

Copyright © 2014 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Posted with the permission of the publisher.

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