Critical review of household water treatment in Southeast Asian countries

Dora Lawrencia, Geetha Maniam, Lay Hong Chuah, Phaik Eong Poh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Worldwide, an average gap of 32% was observed between urban and rural populations in terms of access to safe drinking water. Worryingly, 50% of the Southeast Asia population resides in rural areas, making the region highly vulnerable to threats from not having access to safe drinking water. The sparse population density and infrastructural complexities in rural areas have made centralized water treatment systems very challenging in terms of implementation and significantly increased cost. Hence, adopting a household water treatment (HWT) system would be a more suitable co-existing water provision solution. However, data on the sustainability of HWT in Southeast Asia is still lacking. Therefore, this review aims to provide a critical overview of water poverty and current HWT implemented in Southeast Asian countries. The factors associated with feasibility and potentially sustained implementation of the HWT in Southeast Asian countries covering user preferences, user perception towards water safety, education and training, economic feasibility, collaborations, and supportive policy environment were also discussed. In a nutshell, there is a need for co-designing the HWT with the targeted community before its implementation for better sustainability. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Rights to Water Science of Water > Water Quality Human Water > Methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1640
Number of pages24
JournalWIREs Water
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • drinking water
  • household water treatment
  • Southeast Asia
  • surface water
  • unimproved water

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