Abstract

Inter-household patterns in drinking water access, consumption, perception, and quality among residents can vary in Rio das Pedras (RdP), a large favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While unreliable water quality can influence residents to diversify their drinking water supply, household drinking water management practices are not generally known for this community. Household surveys, and indoor tap, piped water before entering the home, filtered, or bottled dispenser water samples were collected. Respondents reported storing water (91%) and near-daily access to piped water (78%). A majority of households reported cleaning water storage tanks at least once every 6 months. Also, residents rely on bottled water and a considerable proportion supplemented their water supply with at-home filtered water. The quality and safety of these sources are not necessarily superior to indoor tap water, especially under conditions of appropriate water storage tank cleaning. Higher prevalence of total coliform detections was found in indoor tap, filtered, and bottled water. Household characteristics such as home ownership, residence type, and residence time exhibited a positive association with improved tank cleaning. Community health practitioners could evaluate practices in water storage, at-home filtration maintenance, and bottled water dispenser systems using household characteristics to promote protective actions.

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