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Scoping Review

Health implications of coping with water insecurity at the household level


In response to water insecurity and its associated socio-environmental consequences, households develop and use diverse coping strategies, including water storage, water reuse, rainwater harvesting, water treatment, water sharing and borrowing from social networks, illegal connections to public networks, buying water from private vendors, consumption of beverages in place of water, and fetching water from distant sources to meet their daily water needs. However, some of these strategies are associated with adverse health impacts on households. This review aims to examine the health implications of water insecurity coping strategies. The results indicate that coping strategies such as prolonged water storage is associated with diarrheal diseases and non-communicable diseases; diabetes is more prevalent in households that use sugary beverages as a coping strategy. In addition, water-sharing and borrowing from social networks exacerbate water-related psychosocial stress, including Anxiety, worry, and anger. Finally, fetching water from long distances is associated with muscle-skeletal pains and injuries. Future studies are needed to understand water insecurity coping mechanisms’ biomedical and psychosocial consequences. These would help practitioners develop programs and policies that could be implemented to improve coping mechanisms while limiting their biomedical and psychological effects.

Azupogo, U. W., Achore, M., Dery, F. A., & Bisung, E. (2023). Health implications of coping with water insecurity at the household level. Water Security19, 100135.