Skip to main content

Development of impact factors on damage to health by infectious diseases caused by domestic water scarcity

Abstract

Background, aim, and scope

Water scarcity is a critical environmental issue. In particular, domestic water is a necessary resource for our fundamental activities, and poor water quality may lead to damage to health caused by infectious diseases. However, there is no methodology to assess the damage of domestic water scarcity (low accessibility to safe water) caused by water consumption. The main objectives of this study are to model the health damage assessment of infectious diseases (ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm disease, and diarrhea) caused by domestic water scarcity and calculate damage factors on a country scale.

Materials and methods

The damage to health caused by infectious diseases was assumed to have resulted from domestic water scarcity due to loss of accessibility to safe water. Damage function of domestic water scarcity was composed of two steps, including assessments of water accessibility and health damage. This was modeled by applying regression analyses based on statistical data on a country scale. For more precise and realistic modeling, three explanatory variables (domestic use of fresh water, gross domestic product per capita and gross capital formation expenditure per capita) for water accessibility assessment and seven explanatory variables (the annual average temperature, the house connection to water supply, the house connection to sanitation, average dietary energy consumption, undernourished population rate, Gini coefficient of dietary energy consumption, and health expenditure per capita) for the health damage ssessment were chosen and non-linear multiple regression analyses were conducted.

Results

Water accessibility could be modeled by all three explanatory variables with sufficient explanatory power (R 2 = 0.68). For the health damage assessment, significant explanatory variables were different from those for diseases, but the R 2 values of the regression models for each infectious disease were calculated as more than 0.4. Furthermore, the house connection to water supply rate showed a high correlation with every infectious disease. This showed that domestic water scarcity is strongly linked to health damage caused by infectious diseases. Based on the results of the regression analyses, the calculated damage factors of domestic water scarcity ranged from 1.29E-11 to 1.81E-03 [Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)/m3], and the average value (weighted mean value by domestic use of fresh water for each country) was 3.89E-07 [DALYs/m3] and the standard deviation of damage factors was 1.40E-07 [DALYs/m3].

Discussion

According to the calculated damage factors for each country, countries sensitive to domestic water scarcity appeared to be located in the African region, and in addition, the amount of available domestic water tended to be less in the most sensitive countries. Water production technologies represented by desalination are expected to be a countermeasure for the reduction of water stress. As an example of the application of damage factor analysis, health damage improvement compared with the effects of CO2 emission caused by the introduction of desalination plants showed that there were several countries where desalination was worth introducing after considering the advantages and disadvantages of the environmental impact.

Conclusions

Damage assessment models of domestic water scarcity were developed by applying non-linear multiple regression analysis. Damage factors could be calculated for most countries, except for those without statistical data for the analysis. Damage factors are applicable to not only the assessment of water consumption, but also the evaluation of benefits of water production in countries suffering from water scarcity.

Recommendations and perspectives

The analyses of this study were conducted by applying data on a country scale, and the regional and local characteristics within each country are expected to be taken into account in future studies. The water resource amount, which was represented by the amount of domestic use of fresh water in this study, should be estimated with consideration of the effects due to climate change.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    Domestic water scarcity is defined in this article as “low accessibility to safe water for drinking”. It will be accelerated by water consumption.

  2. 2.

    “Safe water” in this article is defined as “improved sources of drinking-water” (piped water into dwelling, piped water to yard/plot, public tap or standpipe, tubewell or borehole, protected dug well, protected spring, rainwater) according to the definition by WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (WHO-UNICEF 2010).

References

  1. Bayart J-B, Bulle C, Deshênes L, Margni M, Pfister S, Vince F, Koehler A (2010) A framework for assessing off-stream freshwater use in LCA. Int J LCA 15:439–453. doi:10.1007/s11367-010-0172-7

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bösch M, Hellweg S, Huijbregts M, Frischknecht R (2007) Applying cumulative exergy demand (CExD) indicators to the ecoinvent database. Int J Life Cycle Assess 12(3):181–190. doi:10.1065/lca2006.11.282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Dewulf J, Bösch MB, De Meester B, Van der Vorst G, Van Langenhove H, Hellweg S, Huijbregts MAJ (2007) Cumulative exergy extraction from the natural environment (CEENE): a comprehensive life cycle impact assessment method for resource accounting. Environ Sci Technol 41(24):8477–8483. doi:10.1021/es0711415

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Esrey S-A (1996) Water, waste and well being: a multi-country study. Am J Epidemiol 143(6):608–623

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Esrey S-A, Feachem R-G, Hughes J-M (1985) Interventions for the control of diarrhoeal diseases among young children: improving water supplies and excreta disposal facilities. Bull World Health Organ 63(4):757–772

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Esrey S-A, Habicht J-P, Casella G (1992) The complementary effects of latrines and increased water usage on the growth of infants in rural Lesotho. Am J Epidemiol 135(6):659–666

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. FAO (2008) FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://faostat.fao.org/

  8. Frischknecht R, Steiner R, Jungbluth N (2009) The Ecological Scarcity Method - Eco-Factors 2006: A method for impact assessment in LCA. Federal Office for the Environment FOEN. Available at http://www.bafu.admin.ch/publikationen/publikation/01031/index.html?lang=en

  9. Gorter A-C, Sandiford P, Smith G-D, Pauw J-P (1991) Water supply, sanitation and diarrhoeal disease in Nicaragua: results from a case–control study. Int J Epidemiol 20(2):527–533

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Herbert J (1985) Effects of components of sanitation on nutritional status: findings from South Indian settlements. Int J Epidemiol 14(1):143–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Howard G, Bartram J (2003) Domestic water quantity, service level and health. Switzerland, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  12. Itsubo N, Sakagami M, Washida T, Kokubu K, Inaba A (2003) Weighting across safeguard subjects for LCIA through the application of conjoing analysis. Int J LCA 9(3):196–205. doi:10.1007/BF02994194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Koehler A (2008) Water use in LCA: managing the planet’s freshwater resources. Int J LCA 13(6):451–455. doi:10.1007/s11367-008-0028-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Laussaux S, Renzoni R, Germain A (2007) Life cycle assessment of water from the pumping station to the wastewater treatment plant. Int J LCA 12(2):118–126. doi:10.1065/lca2005.12.243

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Milà i Canals L, Chenoweth J, Chapagain A, Orr S, Anton A, Clift R (2009) Assessing freshwater use impacts in LCA: Part I—inventory modelling and characterization factors for the main impact pathways. Int J LCA 14:28–42. doi:10.1007/s11367-008-0030-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Pfister S, Koehler A, Hellweg S (2009) Assessing the environmental impact of freshwater consumption in LCA. Environ Sci Technol 43(11):4098–4104. doi:10.1021/es802423e

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Pre Consultants (2001) The Eco-indicator 99. A damage-oriented method for Life Cycle Impact Assessment, methodology report, Netherland

  18. Prüss-Üstün A, Bos R, Gore F, Bartram J (2008) Safe water, better health. World Health Organization, Geneva

    Google Scholar 

  19. Raluy R-G, Serra L, Uche J (2005a) Life cycle assessment of water production technologies. Part 1: Life cycle assessment of different commercial desalination technologies (MSF, MED, RO). Int J LCA 10(4):285–293. doi:10.1065/lca2004.09.179.1

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Raluy R-G, Serra L, Uche J, Valero A (2005b) Life cycle assessment of water production technologies. Part 2: reverse osmosis desalination versus the Ebro river water transfer. Int J LCA 10(5):346–354. doi:10.1065/lca2004.09.179.2

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Steward M, Weidema B (2005) A consistent framework for assessing the impacts from resource use—a focus on resource functionality. Int J LCA 10(4):240–247

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Stokes J, Horvath A (2006) Life cycle energy assessment of alternative water supply systems. Int J LCA 11(5):335–343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. The World Bank (2007) World development indicators, Washington, USA

  24. The World’s Water (2008) The world’s water 2006–2007 tables. http://www.worldwater.org/data.html

  25. UNESCO (2003) World water resources at the beginning of the 21st century, UNESCO

  26. WHO (2008a) Water and sanitation data query tool, World Health Organization, http://www.wssinfo.org/en/watquery.html

  27. WHO (2008b) Global burden of disease estimates, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/healthinfo/bodestimates/en/index.html

  28. WHO-UNICEF (2010) Types of drinking water sources and sanitation, WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation, http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions/infrastructure.html

  29. World Meteorological Organization (2008) World weather information service, http://www.worldweather.org/

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masaharu Motoshita.

Electronic supplementary materials

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

ESM 1

(PDF 49.3 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Motoshita, M., Itsubo, N. & Inaba, A. Development of impact factors on damage to health by infectious diseases caused by domestic water scarcity. Int J Life Cycle Assess 16, 65–73 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-010-0236-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Damage assessment
  • Desalination
  • Domestic water
  • Health damage
  • Infectious diseases
  • LCIA
  • Water scarcity