Assessment of the Feasibility and Acceptability of Using Water Pasteurization Indicators to Increase Access to Safe Drinking Water in the Peruvian Amazon

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jul;103(1):455-464. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0963. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


Approximately two billion people lack access to microbiologically safe drinking water globally. Boiling is the most popular household water treatment method and significantly reduces diarrheal disease, but is often practiced inconsistently or ineffectively. The use of low-cost technologies to improve boiling is one approach with potential for increasing access to safe drinking water. We conducted household trials to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of water pasteurization indicators (WAPIs) in the Peruvian Amazon in 2015. A total of 28 randomly selected households were enrolled from a rural and a peri-urban community. All households trialed two WAPI designs, each for a 2-week period. Ninety-six percent of participants demonstrated the correct use of the WAPIs at the end of each trial, and 88% expressed satisfaction with both WAPI models. Ease of use, short treatment time, knowledge of the association between WAPI use and improved health, and the taste of treated water were among the key factors that influenced acceptability. Ease of use was the key factor that influenced design preference. Participants in both communities preferred a WAPI with a plastic box that floated on the water's surface compared with a WAPI with a wire that was dipped into the pot of drinking water while it was heating (77% versus 15%, P < 0.001); we selected the box design for a subsequent randomized trial of this intervention. The high feasibility and acceptability of the WAPIs in this study suggest that these interventions have potential to increase access to safe water in resource-limited settings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Drinking Water / microbiology*
  • Dysentery / prevention & control
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pasteurization / instrumentation
  • Pasteurization / methods
  • Pasteurization / standards*
  • Peru
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Supply
  • Young Adult


  • Drinking Water