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Table 1 Water-related indicators and key research questions when evaluating the informal water distribution system in the urban slum of Kaula Bandar

From: The social ecology of water in a Mumbai slum: failures in water quality, quantity, and reliability

Indicator Research questions Metrics
Quality • What percentage of drinking water is contaminated with bacteria by the time it reaches the point of consumption? • Total coliform bacteria and E. coli levels measured in numerous water samples
  • Given the complexity of the informal distribution system, where along the chain of access does water get contaminated with bacteria, if at all? Specifically, does most contamination occur at the level of the motorized pumps (the point-of-source), the hoses (the distribution network), or the household drinking water storage containers (the point-of-use)?  
  • What are the key predictors of bacterial contamination of drinking water? Specifically, what are the roles of season, frequency of refilling water, quantity of water consumed, etc., on contamination? • Gross appearance of water, water treatment method used, gross appearance of storage container, composition of storage container, and days since container was last filled and cleaned for every water sample collected
Quantity • What percentage of households fail to achieve the WHO minimum recommendation of 50 liters per capita per day (l/c/d) for quantity of water consumption? • Quantity of water used in the last week by each household represented in liters per capita per day (l/c/d)
  • What percentage of households fail to achieve a consumption threshold of 20 l/c/d, which is associated with high risk to health?  
  • What are the key predictors of use of an inadequate quantity of water? Specifically, what are the roles of season, cost of water, and total money spent on purchasing water?  
Cost • What is the average cost that residents pay per 1000 liters of water? • Money spent by each household on purchasing water in the last month and week
  • How does the cost of water obtained through the informal distribution system compare to the cost paid by residents of other notified (government-recognized) slums who obtain water through the formal municipal system?  
  • What percentage of monthly household income is spent on purchasing water? • Mean household income in the community obtained from a separate survey of 521 randomly selected households
Reliability • What are the health and economic consequences of an unreliable water distribution system? Specifically, how does periodic “system failure” of the informal distribution system impact key indicators such as quality, quantity, and cost? • Data on major water indicators specifically collected from study households during an episode of “system failure”