Research Alert: August 21, 2023

Assessing Key Indicators of Rural Versus Urban Water Quality

This study presents a summary of water quality monitoring data sources and models, identifies the gaps that persist, and proposes the salient categories and types of data that should be contained in a national water quality monitoring database to accurately describe rural water quality.

Key Findings:

  • The lack of standardized data makes it challenging to protect the public from unsafe waters in a variety of settings.
  • Existing data is insufficient to produce national estimates of water quality or to compare water quality in rural versus urban areas.
  • The creation of a database and model(s) to monitor and estimate water quality nationally, across both urban and rural contexts, is warranted.
  • Data must be routinely collected at a fine scale of representative geographic locations to produce national estimates of water quality and/or assess differences in water quality between urban and rural areas.
  • Statistical corrections for oversampling of highly polluted areas may be applied provided these sites can be differentiated from representative sites.
Contact Information:

Daniel J. Kilpatrick, PhD, MPH, CEPR
Rural and Minority Health Research Center

Additional Resources of Interest: