Water Drinking Attitudes and Behaviours in Guatemala: An Assessment and Intervention


In March of 2002, a 244-meter ground water well was installed at an orphanage in Lemoa, a small village in Guatemala, providing a free and sustainable source of drinking water for the surrounding community. The well gave the local residents access to much higher quality water than their traditional sources provided. However, meter readings at the pump showed that few of the residents availed themselves of this new resource. A research team revisited the community in Spring 2004 to assess attitudinal and behavioural determinants of water usage in the community and in a second community with no access to safe well water. Both Lemoa respondents (N = 21) and Camanchaj respondents (N = 30) reported higher ratings of water safety than were warranted by objective data. Educational materials (card-sorting tasks) were prepared to help residents of both communities better understand the importance of correct water drinking decisions. These were administered approximately one year after the first survey to independent samples in both communities (N's = 31 and 32). After completing the card-sorting tasks, participant ratings of water safety were significantly lower. Both the survey and the educational interventions appeared to have positively impacted use of the well at Lemoa.


Psychological Science

Second Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Attitudes; Cross Cultural Studies; Drinking Water; Health

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 James Cook University, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2007