Water Research X.
Water Research X.

The research article 'Effects of hydraulically disconnecting consumer pumps in an intermittent water supply' has been published in the journal Water Research X.

Abstract

We estimate 250 million people receive water using private pumps connected directly to intermittently pressurized distribution networks. Yet no previous studies have quantified the presumed effects of these pumps. In this paper, we investigate the effects of installing pressure-sustaining valves at consumer connections. These valves mimic pump disconnection by restricting flow. Installing these valves during the dry season at 94% of connections in an affluent neighborhood in Delhi, India, cut the prevalence of samples with turbidity > 4 NTU by two thirds. But considering the poor reputation of pumps, installed valves had surprisingly small average effects on turbidity -8% (p<0.01) and free chlorine +0.05 mg/L (p<0.001; N=1,031). These effects were much smaller than the high variability in water quality supplied to both control- and valve-installed neighborhoods. Site-specific responses to this variability could have confounded our results. At the study site, installed valves increased network pressure during 88% of the typical supply window; valves had a maximum pressure effect of +0.62 m [0.54, 0.71] (a 40% increase vs. control). Further research is needed to generalize beyond our study site. Nevertheless, this paper provides unique evidence showing how the deployed valves mitigated pump effects, increased network pressure and improved water safety.

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