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The Association between Rainfall, Temperature and Reported Drinking Water Source: A Multi-Country Analysis
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  • Andrea Buchwald,
  • Evan Thomas,
  • Kristopher B Karnauskas,
  • Elise Grover,
  • Karen L Kotloff,
  • Elizabeth J Carlton
Andrea Buchwald
Colorado School of Public Health

Corresponding Author:andreabuchwald@umaryland.edu

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Evan Thomas
University of Colorado Boulder
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Kristopher B Karnauskas
University of Colorado Boulder
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Elise Grover
Colorado School of Public Health
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Karen L Kotloff
Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine
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Elizabeth J Carlton
Colorado School of Public Health
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Abstract

Climate change may alter access to safe drinking water, with important implications for health. We assessed the relationship between temperature and rainfall and utilization of basic drinking water (BDW) in The Gambia, Mozambique, Pakistan, and Kenya. The outcomes of interest were 1) whether the reported drinking water source used in the past two weeks met the World Health Organization definition of BDW and 2) use of a BDW source that was always available. Temperature and precipitation data were compiled from weather stations and satellite data and summarized to account for long- and short-term weather patterns and lags. We utilized random forests and logistic regression to identify key weather variables that predicted outcomes by site and the association between important weather variables and BDW use. Higher temperatures were associated with decreased BDW use at three of four sites and decreased use of BDW that is always available at all four sites. Rainfall, both in the long- and short-term, was associated with increased BDW use in three sites. We found evidence for interactions between household wealth and weather variables at two sites, suggesting lower wealth populations may be more sensitive to weather-driven changes in water access. Changes in temperature and precipitation can alter safe water use in low-resource settings – investigating drivers for these relationships can inform efforts to build climate resilience.