Water supply surveillance is defi ned as ‘the continuous and vigilant public health assessment and oversight of the safety and acceptability of water supplies’ (WHO, 1976, 1993, 2004). Many millions of people, in particular throughout the developing world, use unreliable water supplies of poor quality, which are costly and are distant from their home (WHO and UNICEF, 2000). Over the years, there has been a growing realization that communities in the rural areas need water for productive as well as domestic uses, indicating the need for an increase in the quantity of the water supplied from public systems, along with quality (Renwick, 2008; Nicole, 2000; van Koppen et al., 2006). This is important for meeting the millennium development goals (van Koppen et al., 2006).