W18 Storing drinking water

HygieneWater Supply

Household water supplies are a problem for many people. In urban areas people may need to pay a lot for water. People in rural areas may have to walk long distances to collect water.

Keeping water in clay pots will help keep water cool and fresh for drinking. Plastic or metal containers may be easier to use for collecting water as they are lighter to carry, but they do not keep water cool.

As well as removing the microbes that cause diarrhoea from our hands and drinking water, it is also important to keep these microbes out of stored drinking water. There are several ways microbes can enter drinking water. Safe drinking water can be poured into a dirty container. Rinse water storage jars each time with safe water before use. Leaving water uncovered means that dirt or flies can fall in. Water for drinking should always be covered.

Another way that microbes get into water is when someone with unwashed hands touches the water. Anyone taking a drink, who has not washed their hands after touching faeces, will make all the water dirty. Either pour water directly from the container or use a ladle or gourd with a long handle to scoop out water. Do not drink directly from this but use a cup. Store the gourd or ladle in a clean place and not on the ground.


  • What are our traditional ways of storing drinking water in the home? How good are people at keeping water safe to drink?
  • How have customs changed in recent years?
  • What could be used to scoop water from the container without letting hands touch the water? How could this be kept close to the water container and be kept clean?
  • How can young children be prevented from putting their hands into drinking water containers? Should we recommend that only adults should serve drinking water unless there is a tap?
  • Are clean clay pots available to store cool drinking water?
  • What kind of covers would make sure that drinking water is always kept covered? Do some people have useful ideas to make sure drinking water is kept safe to drink? Visit their homes to observe them if possible.