Access to safe water is a universal need. However, many of the world’s population lack access to adequate and safe water. Consumption of contaminated water with viruses, bacteria and parasites causes health risk to the public and the situation is serious in rural areas. So this study is aimed at assessing the bacteriological quality of drinking water at source and point of use among rural Communities of Farta Woreda, North Western, Ethiopia. A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted in March 2014 in 41 rural Kebeles of Farta Woreda. A total of 120 water samples were obtained from protected water sources and household water storage containers and tested for Escherichia coli by using membrane filter methods. The contaminant risk of water sources and household storage containers were assessed by sanitary inspection checklist of World health Organization. Descriptive statistics (proportion and percentage) were used to count the E. coli load and the results were interpreted using World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for drinking water quality. All household water storage containers and majority 22(91.7%) of the protected wells and 5(83.3%) springs in the study area were not in compliance with WHO recommended values (0 CFU/100 ml of drinking water) for drinking water. Majority 10(41.7%) of protected well, 5(83.3%) protected spring and 42(46.7%) household storage containers had high sanitary risk score for E. coli. The water sources and also household water storage containers were heavily contaminated with E. coli. Source protection strategies, awareness creation on safe water handling practices as well as monitoring are necessary to enhance good drinking water quality.
Key words: Drinking water, E-coli, bacteriological quality, rural community, storage container.