A direct water intake study was conducted for one year, involving 423 individuals from three arsenic as affected villages of West Bengal, India. Average direct water intake per person and per unit body weight was found to be 3.12±1.17 L/day and 78.07±47.08 mol/kg/day (± SD), respectively. Average direct water intakes for adult males, adult females and children were 3.95, 3.03 and 2.14 L/day, respectively.Significant sex differentials were observed between ages 16-55 years. For all participants, a sharp increase in water intake up to 15 years of age was observed followed by a plateau at a higher intake level. Significant monthly, seasonal, regional, and occupational variability was also observed. Another study involving 413 subjects determined the amount of indirect water intake. Average indirect water intake per person was 1.80±0.64 L/day; for adult males, adult females and children, intake was 2.15, 1.81, and 1.10 L/day, respectively. Average total (direct + indirect) water intake was 4.92 L/person/day; for adult males, adult females and children, total intake was 6.10, 4.84, and 3.24 L/person/day, respectively.
The overall contribution of indirect water intake to total water consumption was 36.6% for all participants.This study additionally elucidated several factors that contribute to variable water intake, which can lead to better risk characterization of subpopulations and water contaminant ingestion. The study reveals that the water intake rates in the three studied populations in West Bengal are greater than the assumed water intake rates utilized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the establishment of drinking water quality guidelines; therefore, these assumed intake values may be inappropriate for the study population as well as similar ones.