E. coli and Coliform Bacteria as Indicators for Drinking Water Quality and Handling of Drinking Water in the Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

Kirsten Ngaire Nicholson, Klaus Neumann, Carolyn Dowling, Subodh Sharma

Abstract


During the 2016 pre-monsoon dry season, we undertook a systematic study of water quality, specifically fecal contamination of drinking water, in the Khumbu Valley, Sagarmatha National Park (SNP, Mt. Everest region) and SNP buffer zone, Nepal. Our goal was to quantify physical parameters (temperature, pH, conductivity and total dissolved solids), and the presence of fecal coliforms (E. coli and total coliforms) in drinking water and drinking water sources (predominately groundwater-fed springs). This data set will function as a baseline for access to potable water and further monitoring. Sample sites were selected based on primary use as a drinking water and/or drinking water source for each community.

In general, there is little correlation between and physical parameters however, there are very weak correlations between total coliform data and increasing temperature, and decreasing elevation and pH. There does, however, appear to be a correlation between population (including tourist numbers) and both E. coli and total coliforms.

Our study clearly indicates that the presence of bacterial indicators of fecal pollution during the dry season. Samples from the more populated, lower altitude areas had higher levels of E. coli and coliform bacteria. Importantly, drinking water that was stored in tanks or transported long distances had a much higher incidence of E. coli and total coliforms suggesting that a change in water handling practices might have an important impact on drinking water quality and population health. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/emsd.v6i2.11982

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Copyright (c) 2017 Kirsten Ngaire Nicholson, Klaus Neumann, Carolyn Dowling, Subodh Sharma

Environmental Management and Sustainable Development  ISSN 2164-7682

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