As pointed out in the beginning, the piped water supply rate
is currently much higher in rural areas than in urban
areas--particularly rapidly growing small and medium size cities.
The low piped water supply rates in urban areas are due mainly
to the inability of water supply system expansion to match the
rapid increase in water demand. The capacities of the existing
water supply systems are inadequate to the needs of the current
population in most urban areas.
In many cases, existing urban piped water system have
deteriorated with further aggravates their undercapacity. The
rapid increase in water demand in Korean cities is attributable
not only to rapid population increase but also to per capita
increases in water consumption increase in water consumption
paralleling the rising standard of living in recent years.
While the piped water supply rates in urban areas are
chiefly determined by supply side constraints, the rates in rural
areas have been largely determined by demand-side factors,
particularly the characteristics of rural residents. In urban areas,
access to the piped water supply system has become an
essential necessity of life because of both the limited availability
of alternative water sources and the worsening pollution of these
sources. Unlike in urban areas, the use of piped water in rural
areas is still largely a matter of preference than a necessity.
Industrial pollution has not yet so widely and deeply permeated
the existing ground water sources in the rural survey areas, and
this remains sufficient to serve current demand and continue to
be of generally good quality. In other rural area, however,
pollution of ground and surface water by industrial wastes,
fertilizer, herbicides, and biological contaminants is already a
For these reasons, the piped water supply rates in the rural
areas are generally determined by the socio-economic
characteristics of rural households and their preferences. The
average piped water subscription rates differ average among
household income groups, between farm and non-farm rural
households by the educational level of the housewife, and
between households with and without private water sources etc.
The survey findings indicate that the subscription rate is higher
for upper household income group than for lower income groups,
higher for non-farm households than for farm households, higher
for households where the housewife enjoys a higher level of
education than where her education is more limited, and so on.
The establishment of piped water systems in tradition -
oriented rural areas has brought about concomitant impact at the
individual household level as well as at the community level.
On the one hand, the piped water systems have considerably
improved public health through a substantial reduction in the
incidence of illness and death due to water-borne diseases
among community residents. On the other hand, at the individual
level the rural population has directly benefited from improved
personal hygiene, and the saving of effort and time formerly
required to carry water, etc. The rural residents have also
indirectly benefited from changes in home life style that have
followed upon the installation of piped water systems.
In conclusion, from the general perspective of modernization,
the construction of piped water systems may be viewed as the
introduction of a modern innovation into tradition-oriented rural
areas, and the gradual increase in piped water use in rural areas
may similarly be regarded as the adoption of a modern
innovation by rural people. In this regard, changes in social
values and individual attitudes must be promoted to accelerate
behavioral changes among the target population in the context of
specific development programs such as the rural potable water
program. It is noteworthy that the CARE education program
proved to have strongly affected the piped water subscription
rates and consequent changes in water use facilities and water