Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries
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Historically, improvements in municipal water quality reduced mortality substantially in wealthy countries. However, water disinfection has not produced equivalent benefits in developing countries today. We investigate this puzzle by analyzing a large-scale municipal water disinfection program in Mexico that increased water chlorination coverage from 55% to 90% within 18 months. On average, the program reduced childhood diarrheal disease mortality rates by 50%. However, age (degradation) of water pipes and inadequate sanitation infrastructure attenuated these benefits substantially, ranging from no decline in cities with the worst infrastructure to 80% in those with the best – a decline consistent with historical experience.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23239
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