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J Environ Health. 2010 Jun;72(10):24-30.

The challenges of sustainable access to safe drinking water in rural areas of developing countries: case of Zawtar El-Charkieh, Southern Lebanon.

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Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beirut, Lebanon.


Adequate and safe water is important for human health and well-being, economic production, and sustainable development. Failure to ensure the safety of drinking water may expose the community to the risk of outbreaks of waterborne and infectious diseases. Although drinking water is a basic human right, many people do not have access to safe and adequate drinking water or proper sanitation facilities. The authors conducted a study to assess the quantity, cost, continuity, coverage, and quality of drinking water in the village of Zawtar El-Charkieh, Lebanon. Their aim was to identify the challenges of sustainable access to safe drinking water in order to determine the short-term management actions and long-term strategies to improve water quality. Results revealed that contamination of the source, absence of any disinfection method or insufficient dose, poor maintenance operations, and aging of the networks are significant factors contributing to water contamination during the storage and distribution process. Establishing a comprehensive drinking water system that integrates water supply, quality, and management as well as associated educational programs in order to ensure the safety and sustainability of drinking water supplies is essential.

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