Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natual Science and Mathematics

First Advisor

Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rebecca Powell

Third Advisor

Sandy Johnson


Development indicators, Laos, Millennium development goals, Water, Water fetching


The Millennium Development Goals measure ‘access to improved drinking water’ using an indicator that defines access as the presence of an improved water source within 1 kilometer of a person’s dwelling. This purely linear measurement has significant shortcomings, including a lack of consideration for the difficulty of the terrain being traversed and the weight of the loads being carried. This paper examines in detail the human energy costs associated with fetching water, first using two Lao villages as case studies, then applying a predictive energy expenditure model to measure the potential caloric effect of variations in the age and gender of water fetchers and in the nature of the terrain they must traverse. Results indicate that these factors have a substantial influence on energy expenditure, with one study village resident who walks 1 km to fetch water during part of the year spending more than 30% of her daily caloric intake on this task. This finding may have important implications on policies relating to water provision in the developing world.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jeff La Frenierre


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

64 p.