Improved Sustainability of Arsenic-Impacted Water Supplies through Rainwater Harvesting

E.A. McBean (Canada)


Arsenic; carcinogens; risk assessment; water supply;contamination; groundwater.


The challenges of supplying water for the rural poor in developing countries is increasing. One of the most severe circumstances is where water supplies are contaminated with arsenic. In response, opportunities to improve the sustainability of water supply systems are feasible by utilizing a combination of water sources wherein rainwater harvesting is used for a portion of the year, thereby reducing the duration of the year during which arsenic-impacted groundwater is utilized. As a demonstration, where a rainwater cistern of 3.2 m3 volume in Bangladesh provides rainwater for periods of approximately 16 days of the year, groundwater at 0.091 mg/L arsenic for the remainder of the year, provides the equivalent body burden arising from groundwater at the interim drinking water guideline of arsenic concentration of 0.050 mg/L for 365 days of the year.

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