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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 12: Posters

Paper 12.9

Who drinks what: Potable Water Usage in South Australia

Jane S Heyworth
Flinders University of South Australia
Environmental Health Branch,
Department of Human Services
PO Box 6, Rundle Mall
Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia


Recent studies which have implicated mains supply water as a source of gastroenteritis (Paymentet al, 1991; 1997), have ramifications for water supplies in Australia. This is particularly so for those water supplies in rural or semi -rural communities where the source water is often of a lower quality and its treatment limited.

Rainwater collected and stored in tanks on domestic premises is an important source of potable water in South Australia. However knowledge about the risk to health from drinking tank rainwater is limited. Potential sources of contamination include faecal material from birds, rodents, possums and other animals; accumulated fallout from air pollutants; breakdown products from roofing material, and organic debris from overhanging trees. The focus of this study is the microbiological quality. A number studies of tank rainwater have indicated the water quality to be below guideline values for indicator organisms (Fuller et al. 1981; Thomas and Greene 1993; Edwards 1994). Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts have been detected in tank rainwater in the Virgin Islands (Crabtree et al, 1996). Tank rainwater has also been implicated as a cause of an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Trinidad (Koplan et al 1978).

PDF of full document (5pp, 20kb)

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