Packaged water, particularly bagged sachet water, has become an important drinking water source in West Africa as local governments struggle to provide safe drinking water supplies. In Ghana, sachet water has become an important primary water source in urban centers, and a growing literature has explored various dimensions of this industry, including product quality. There is very little data on sachet water quality outside of large urban centers, where smaller markets often mean less producer competition and less government regulation. This study analyzes the microbiological quality of sachet water alongside samples of other common water sources at point-of-collection (POC) and point-of-use (POU) in 42 rural, peri-urban, and small-town Ghanaian communities using the IDEXX Colilert® 18 (Westbrook, ME). Levels of coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli detected in sachet water samples were statistically and significantly lower than levels detected in all other water sources at POU, including public taps and standpipes, and statistically similar or significantly lower at POC. In diverse waterscapes where households regularly patch together their water supply from different sources, sachet water appears to be an evolving alternative for safe drinking water despite many caveats, including higher unit costs and limited opportunities to recycle the plastic packaging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases