29 July 2005
Elmore, A.C., Miller, G.R. & Parker, B. Environ Geol (2005) 48: 901. doi:10.1007/s00254-005-0028-9
A variety of water supply sources are used in the rural Guatemalan Highlands. Formal municipal systems are rare, but villagers frequently form local water committees that construct spring-based supply systems. Recent work has indicated that groundwater may be a viable water supply source. The water quality from these two sources was characterized as well as water from other common sources including surface water and precipitation collection systems. Typically, all of the water sources contained unacceptable levels of coliform bacteria except for groundwater from a drilled well. Water monitoring indicated that not only did the water contain coliforms at the actual sources, but the infrastructure used to transmit the water to points of use may also be a source of coliforms. A cost comparison indicates that groundwater may be a cost-competitive, higher quality alternative to traditional spring-fed water systems.