Protozoan pathogens present a significant human health concern, and prevention of contamination into potable networks remains a key focus for drinking water providers. Here, we monitored the change in Cryptosporidium concentration in source water during high flow events in a multi-use catchment. Furthermore, we investigated the diversity of Cryptosporidium species/genotypes present in the source water, and delivered an oocyst infectivity fraction. There was a positive and significant correlation between Cryptosporidium concentration and flow (. ρ=0.756) and turbidity (. ρ=0.631) for all rainfall-runoff events, despite variable source water pathogen concentrations. Cell culture assays measured oocyst infectivity and suggested an overall source water infectious fraction of 3.1%. No infectious Cryptosporidium parvum or Cryptosporidium hominis were detected, although molecular testing detected C. parvum in 7% of the samples analysed using PCR-based molecular techniques. Twelve Cryptosporidium species/genotypes were identified using molecular techniques, and were reflective of the host animals typically found in remnant vegetation and agricultural areas. The inclusion of molecular approaches to identify Cryptosporidium species and genotypes highlighted the diversity of pathogens in water, which originated from various sources across the catchment. We suggest this mixing of runoff water from a range of landuses containing diverse Cryptosporidium hosts is a key explanation for the often-cited difficulty forming strong pathogen-indicator relationships.
- Drinking water