Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Environmental Engr. (M.S.E.V.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

James Mihelcic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Qiong Zhang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maya Trotz, Ph.D.


E.Coli, Faecal Contamination, Groundwater, Nitrate, Heavy Metals, Safe Drinking Water, Sustainable Development Goals


In the year 2000, 170 countries decided to stand together and solve some primary and common global problems like poor health, water, and sanitation. Obtaining access to safe drinking water is every individual’s right. The UN defines safe drinking water as “the water required for each personal or domestic use must be safe, therefore free from micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards that constitute a threat to a person's health” (UNDESA, 2014). This thesis focuses on identifying the number of people who potentially receive spring water from a piped source in rural mountainous areas. There are three significant steps and data requirements which are necessary to meet this study’s objective. These are to: 1) obtain data classifying the various sources of drinking water in each country by specifying the percentage of population served by a particular water in rural and urban areas, 2) determine the number of countries which are undeveloped or developing, and 3) identify specific countries which are defined as mountainous (and thus likely to have spring fed piped water systems) based on elevation and slope in order to estimate the number of people living in mountainous areas. Results show that 183.54 (million) people were estimated to receive piped water from the springs in mountainous areas. Approximately, 34% of the population is from the Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia regions, and 33% reside in the Latin America and Caribbean Islands. These were followed by Western Asia and North Africa Regions with 15% and Central Asia and Southern Asia Regions with 14% of their population estimated to receive piped spring water.