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.
Rural and Minority Health Research Center
Daniel Kilpatrick, Jeremy Cothran, Stella Self, Dwayne Porter, Peiyin Hung, Elizabeth Crouch, Nicholas Yell, Jan Eberth