The study examined pH, turbidity, and fecal contamination of drinking water from household water storage containers, wells and taps, and the Godawari River, and tested the effectiveness of solar disinfection (SODIS) in reducing levels of fecal contamination from household containers. Second, the study investigated the relationship between use of SODIS and reported episodes of diarrheal illness in the participating households. Third, using the Health Belief Model as a framework, the study collected qualitative data about the acceptability of SODIS and about perceived susceptibility to diarrhea, and perceived benefits and barriers to adopting SODIS. Forty households from Siddhipur Village in the Kathmandu Valley participated in the study from March to July, 2002. The study included a baseline survey of health and water quality, training in how and why to use solar disinfection, and two follow-ups. The results showed: 1. Water from all sources is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria. 2. There is less contamination in water from the household containers than from wells and taps. 3. SODIS did significantly reduce the level of fecal contamination. 4. SODIS was not adopted by most households in this study. Due to the low level of adoption it was not possible to test for a reduction in episodes of diarrhea among households using SODIS. 5. The level of education and awareness about water and sanitation was low. One recommendation is to examine the entire water distribution system for the village and identify specific points of potential contamination. The riparian zone upstream from the intake for the village reservoir and the areas around the taps and wells in the village should be protected from human and animal waste. Education about water and sanitation should be provided to the primary food preparers, as well as information and training on other simple methods for household disinfection. A SODIS program integrated into the school curriculum would involve the children and relieve the women of this additional workload. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of SODIS in the shorter, colder winter days and at higher altitudes before final recommendations can be made for general use in Nepal.
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