The aim of this study was to assess the bacteriological quality of water sources in the two rural areas of Uganda using the compartment bag test (CBT). A total of 200 water samples were collected from 69 different water sources and processed within 6 h of collection. Positive and negative controls were processed each day together with water samples. Physical parameters were measured in situ. Descriptive statistics were used to generate mean, minimum, maximum, standard deviations and percentages. The results indicated that 29% of the water sources met the National Standards and WHO Guidelines for drinking water. Sixty percent of the borehole, 44% of gravitational flow taps and 14% of roof rain water met the required standards. Of the open water sources, 75% of the rivers, 50% of open channels and 43% of unprotected dug wells plus 25% of protected springs and 9% of gravitational flow schemes had most probable number counts >100 Escherichia coli/100 mL of water. Most of the water sources in the study areas were not fit for human consumption without prior treatment. The CBT was found to be robust and easy to use in all field situations. The mean physical parameters of water sources were within the acceptable limits.

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Author notes

These authors contributed equally to this work.