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Intermittent Domestic Water Supply: A Critical Review and Analysis of Causal-Consequential Pathways

Water 2016, 8(7), 274

Author(s): Galaitsi, S. ; Huber-Lee, A. ; Russell, R.; Bishara, A.; Durant, J.L.; Bogle, J.
Year: 2016

Communities in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries, face obstacles in supplying continuous water to household consumers. Authorities often cite water scarcity as the cause, but the authors demonstrate that environmental constraints constitute only one aspect of a multi-dimensional problem. They found human drivers within the system can create reinforcing structures that may cause intermittency to continue even when sufficient water is available.

The authors reviewed 129 articles, identifying 47 conditions that both lead to and develop from water intermittency, and the causal-consequential pathways between them. These pathways span several disciplines, including engineering, government administration and anthropology. When viewed together, they emphasize the human drivers of intermittency, suggest generalized interventions, and reveal a gap in the literature in terms of meaningful categorizations of the reliability of intermittent supplies.

Based on the reliability of consumers’ water access, the authors propose three categories of intermittency — predictable, irregular, and unreliable — to facilitate comparisons between case studies and transfers of solutions.

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