An analysis of individuals' attitudes and adaptations to chronic household water supply problems in a rural neighborhood

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1993-04-05
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Reliable household water supply remains a problem for many small rural neighborhoods. Safe drinking water is increasingly becoming a national issue, and many small rural systems do not have the governmental supports, both financial and technical, that assure them an adequate and safe household water supply.

This study focused on describing the attitudes and practices of 43 householders in a low-income rural neighborhood that owned their own water system. They had experienced chronic water problems for eight years, and were trying to get the county to take over the system.

Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire that was developed by the researcher. An 82 percent return was achieved. Dependent variables used for analysis were: age, sex, educational level, income, and tenure status. Findings showed that most residents took minimal action to prepare for water shortages: storing only two-five gallons in plastic jugs, females taking this action more often than males. No one had developed a larger storage system. Most residents relied on family and friends for emergency water, as well as alternative bathing and toilet facilities. Forty-five percent also used a privy or the woods for alternative toilet facilities. Older residents were more likely to use sponge baths as alternative bathing. The worst problems with the situation were not having water and carrying alternative supplies. Though the majority of residents were not satisfied with the water system, they felt the cost of water was about right. A majority of residents were satisfied with their housing and the location in which they lived.

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