The study examined pH, turbidity and fecal contamination of drinking water from household water storage containers, wells and taps, and the Godawari River, and tested the effectiveness of solar disinfection (SODIS) in reducing levels of fecal contamination from household containers. The research was conducted in 40 households in a village 6 km outside the capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal. Three rounds of data were collected: a baseline in March 2002 followed by training in solar disinfection, and follow-ups in June and July 2002. Untreated drinking water was found to have levels of contamination ranging from 0 to too numerous to count fecal coliform CFU 100 ml−1. Source water was significantly more contaminated than water from the household storage containers. Wells were less contaminated than taps. SODIS reduced the level of contamination under household conditions. Turbidity from taps was above 30 NTU in the rainy season, above the maximum for effective solar disinfection. SODIS was routinely adopted by only 10% of the participating households during the study.