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Water is an important ingredient for life and it is an effective vehicle for the transmission

of diseases when contaminated. Therefore every responsive and responsible government

of any country strive to make safe water available and accessible to its populace

throughout the year.

The study aimed to assess the quality of drinking water in Bosso town of Niger state,


Forty samples of water from different sources ( Bosso pond, wells, borehole, tap and

sachet water ) were analyzed for faecal coliform (Escherichia. coli), total coliform, PH,

residual chlorine, total dissolved solids, turbidity, colour, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, iron,

and fluorine using membrane filtration method, PH meter, HACH digital titrator, Total

dissolved solids/Conductivity meter, and DR 2000 (HACH) spectrophotometer.

Selection of water samples was carried out using proportionate allocation, equal

allocation, simple random sampling and systematic sampling methods depending on the


Four hundred and twenty-two household heads were interviewed to determine

their common sources of drinking water in dry and in raining seasons, perception on the

physical quality (colour, odour and taste) of water and availability and accessibility of

water. Selection of households to be interviewed was done using household selection

grid, simple random sample and systematic sample methods.

Finally, all the one hundred and fifteen wells in Bosso were inspected to

determine their sanitary condition based on WHO standard for improved (protected) well.


The study revealed that less than 30% of households had access to tap water within their


Of all the wells inspected in Bosso town, only 20% (23) of the wells can be considered

improved/ protected. There was high bacterial contamination of most (80%) of the water

samples. The faecal coliform (Escherichia coli count) varies from 0 to 436 cfc/100ml.

Similarly, all treated water samples (tap and sachet) failed to the meet WHO guideline

value for residual chlorine which is 0.5mg/l and above.

The study also showed that 33.3% and 11.1% of well water samples had nitrate (NO3)

nitrite (NO2) contents above the guideline level respectively. All samples of water from

other sources had nitrateand nitritecontent within the recommended values.

Majority (93.75%) of the tap water samples met the WHO guideline for fluoride while

56.25% showed compliance for iron content.

The single water sample from borehole failed to meet the guideline value for both

fluoride and iron.

Finally, the study showed that despite the high contamination of drinking water in Bosso

town, only 30.1% of households treat their water before consumption.

There is an urgent need to improve on the quality of drinking water in Bosso town

coupled with mass health education to the community on the dangers of contaminated

water and importance of personal hygiene.



1.1       Background

Water is a common natural chemical substance containing two atoms of

Hydrogen and an atom of Oxygen. Its common usage refers to liquid form, though has

other forms: solid water- ice and gaseous forms - water vapour and steam.

Water is indispensable for life and socioeconomic development of any society. It

is used in domestic activities (cooking, drinking, washing, bathing etc), agricultural

activities (e.g irrigation, gardening), generation of power (hydroelectric power plants),

running industries, recreational activities etc. It is very essential for human existence and

sustenance of life. Water constitutes 60%-70% of the total body weight. A man can

live for several days without food but will only survive for few days without

water. Therefore, water is indispensable for normal physiological function of plants

and animals.1 In spite of its importance in sustenance of live and livelihood, it is the

major cause of morbidity and mortality because of limitations in access and quality2,3.

The basic physiological requirement for drinking water has been estimated at

about 2 litres per capita per day which is just enough for survival 4,5 .World Health

Organization (WHO) states that domestic water consumption of 30-35 liters per capita

per day is the minimum requirement for maintaining good health 6. However, the amount

of water required by individuals varies depending on climate, standard of living, habit of

the people and even age and sex.

One factor that impinges more on the accessibility to enough quality drinking water is the

distance of the source from house. This condition forces the individual most especially


the women and children (especially girls) to transverse many kilometers to get safe

drinking water (which deprives them from engaging in productive ventures or going to

school like their male counterparts). In addition to this, in order to reduce the hardship in

getting water, they may resort to reducing the quantity of water used in the house far

below the recommended volume and also they may resort to fetching water from

unimproved sources e.g. unprotected well, pond, stream etc7.

Safe (quality) drinking water is that which does not present any significant health

risk over a life time consumption, including any sensitivities that may occur in different

stages of life.8     It is water which is     free from pathogenic microbes, hazardous

chemicals/substance and aesthetically acceptable ( i.e. pleasing to sight, odourless and

good taste). It is important that this type of water should not only be available, but also be

available in enough quantity all the time4 i.e. twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week


In assessing quality of drinking water, physical, chemical and bacteriological

parameters must be considered. Although water from a source may not pose any health

threat to consumers, they may abhor it due to its colour, odour, or taste 8. Physical

parameters include colour, smell, temperature, PH, turbidity etc. There are myriad of

chemical substances which may be naturally present or introduced (even chemicals used

for water treatment) into water; those that are naturally present seldom pose risk to

health. However, chemicals released due to anthropogenic activities (fertilizer, pesticides,

herbicides, industrial effluents and byproducts etc) carry more health risk to consumers.

Fortunately, whether chemical naturally present or introduced into water, there are

maximum allowable concentration (limit) of most of them proposed by World Health


Organization (WHO) which serves as guide. Some of the chemical substances include

residual chlorine (RC), Iron (Fe), Fluoride (Fl), Nitrate/Nitrite, Lead (Pb), Mercury

(Hg)8,9,10 etc.

Bacteriological (microbial) parameter is used to assess drinking water quality using the

index /indicator concept as advocated by Waite (1991) 9. The infectious risks associated

with drinking water are primarily those posed by faecal pollution and their control

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