Drinking Water quality and provision in six Low-Income Peri-Urban Communities of Lusaka, Zambia

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title



Lusaka, Zambia, is a rapidly growing city located on a vulnerable karstic dolomite aquifer thatprovides most of the city's drinking water. Over 65% of residents live in peri‐urban communities withinadequate sanitation leading to widespread groundwater contamination and the spread of waterbornediseases such as cholera. Tofill the water service gap, Water Trusts were created: public/private partnershipsdesigned to provide clean water to peri‐urban community residents. Water Trusts extract groundwatervia boreholes, treat it with chlorine, and distribute it to residents via public kiosks. We investigatedthe efficacy of drinking water provision to residents in six of Lusaka's peri‐urban communities with WaterTrusts. Water samples were collected from Water Trust boreholes and kiosks, privately owned boreholes,and shallow wells during four sampling efforts. To assess potential risk to human health, water samples wereanalyzed forEscherichia coli(E. coli) and nitrate. Shallow wells were significantly more contaminatedwithE. colithan Water Trust boreholes, kiosks, and private boreholes (Tukey‐adjustedpvalues of9.9 × 10−6). Shallow wells and private boreholes had significantly higher nitrate‐N concentrations(mean of 29.6 mg/L) than the Water Trust boreholes and kiosks (mean of 8.8 mg/L) (pvalue = 1.1 × 10−4). In2016, a questionnaire was distributed to Water Trust managers to assess their ability to meet demands.In the six communities studied, Water Trusts served only about 60% of their residents. Water Trusts providea much safer alternative to shallow wells with respect to nitrate andE. coli, but they struggle to keeppace with growing demand.


Biological and Environmental Sciences

Volume Number


First Page


Last Page




This document is currently not available here.