Treatment of Drinking Water

Outcome indicator, Output indicator

Indicator Phrasing

% of households effectively treating their drinking water
% de ménages traitant efficacement leur eau potable
% domácností efektivně ošetřujících svoji pitnou vodu

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of households effectively treating their drinking water

French: % de ménages traitant efficacement leur eau potable

Czech: % domácností efektivně ošetřujících svoji pitnou vodu

What is its purpose?

Unsafe water is among the main sources of life-threatening, waterborne diseases. This indicator therefore assesses the prevalence of households using effective methods for treating drinking water.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of the target group members:



Q1: Do you or other family member somehow treat the water which you and your family drink?

A1: yes / no


Q2: How do you treat the water?


1) let it stand and settle

2) pour it through a cloth

3) boil it

4) use ceramic/ sand/ other water filter

5) add bleach/ chlorine

6) use disinfectant powder

7) use solar disinfection

8) other: ...................................


(ask the following question only if the previous answer was answer 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7)


Q3: Can you please show me how you treat the water and what materials you use?


1) the respondent has the required water treatment materials and is able to use them correctly

2) the respondent does not have the required water treatment materials and/or is not able to use them correctly

3) the respondent refused to demonstrate water treatment method(s)


NOTES: 1) more answers possible; 2) adjust the pre-set answers according to the local context; 3) do not read the answers; 4) only answers 3-7 (or possibly other pre-approved methods) can be counted as "effective water treatment methods" - others do not count.


Calculate the indicator's value by dividing the number of households effectively treating their drinking water (i.e. report using options 3-7 + have the required materials + are able to use them correctly) by the total number of respondents and multiplying the result by 100. 

Important Comments

1) "Let it stand and settle" and "pour it through a cloth" are very common practices which help to reduce the number of physical particles in the drinking water. However, they do not make the water safer to drink and therefore in your data analysis cannot be considered as "effective water treatment methods".


2) In some countries, data collectors do not correctly distinguish answers "pour it through a cloth" and "use ..... water filter" - make sure these options are clearly defined and data collectors understand the difference.


3) In some contexts, asking people to treat drinking water might not be necessary (e.g. if water from safe sources is used). In such case, focus the indicator (and related project activity) only on households which do not use drinking water from safe sources. In other contexts, ensuring that people treat drinking water might be hard to achieve (due to ingrained habits; scarcity of firewood or disinfectants). In such case, focus the indicator (and related project activity) on water drunk by children aged 6-59 months only (as they are most at risk of life-threatening waterborne diseases). 


4) WHO's "Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage Programmes" proposes a range of related indicators you might want to take advantage of, such as:

  > knowledge of correct water treatment

  > demonstration of correct water treatment

  > household's access to water treatment products


5) Disaggregate the data by wealth.

Propose Improvements