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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.
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
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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