Measuring Water Quantity Used for Personal and Domestic Hygiene and Determinants of Water Use in a Low-Income Urban Community

Sultana R, Nahar N, Luby SP, Swarna ST, Gurley ES, Tamason CC, Khan S, Rimi NA, Kabir H, Saifullah MK, Howlader SR, Jensen PKM

There is a paucity of recent research on direct water quantity measurement for personal and domestic hygiene. We aimed to measure the water quantity used for personal and domestic hygiene and to explore the reasons and determinants for variation of water usage. We conducted this study from September 2014 to June 2016 in a low-income urban community in Dhaka. In 12 households, the team conducted a day-long bimonthly ethnographic observation for one year to measure the volume of water used per activity per person. They conducted 28 in-depth interviews to explore the reasons for changes of water usage. Participants used a median of 75 L (61-100) of water per capita per day (LCPD) and of this 75 LCPD they used a median of 39 LCPD (26-58) for personal hygiene. Women used less water than men. Individual and social norms, beliefs, and weather determinants determined personal hygiene. Water availability determined domestic hygiene (e.g., washing dishes, toilets and bathrooms). This study helps to elucidate a range of determinants of water usage of the participants from the participants' perspective. The quantity of water used for domestic and personal hygiene and its relationship to fecal-oral transmitted disease can be explored in future research.