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10.06.2004 General News

Water Quality deteriorates along distribution lines

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Accra, June 10, GNA - Scientific analysis has revealed that the quality of pipe-borne water in the Accra West District deteriorates with distance from the Weija Headwork.

Mr Samuel Cobbina, a Graduate Environmental Science Student of the University Ghana, Legon, who disclosed this, said the chlorine levels in the water decreased with increases in the presence of faecal matter as one moved further away from the headwork.

"This is due to the number of broken pipeline along the course of distribution," he said.

Mr Cobbina was delivering a research paper on: "Quality of Pipe Borne Water in an Urban Environment: A Case Study of Western Accra" at a two-day workshop on "Causes, Effects and Control of Environmental Problems in Ghana".

The Research was triggered by World Health Organisation publication in 2000 that 75 per cent of all diseases in developing countries arose from polluted drinking water.

UNICEF also in the same year said that the consumption of unsafe water continued to be one of the major causes of about 2.2 million deaths annually.

Mr Cobbina said the quality of treated water sampled from the Weija Headwork was generally good and most parameters investigated were within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and WHO recommended guideline limits.

No coliform bacteria was detected in the final stage of treatment at the Headwork throughout the period of study, he said adding that that was due to the sufficient amounts of residual chlorine in the treated water at that stage.

"The quality of treated water from the Headworks, however, deteriorated in the district as a result of the regular breakage of pipelines that supply water to residents and the intermittent nature of water supply in the study area, thus allowing coliform-infected water into the distribution system," he said.

The study was carried out in Mallam, Darkuman, Mamprobi, Korle-Gonno, Mataheko, Kaneshie, Tesano and Tettegbu. Mr Cobbina said the research also revealed that the mode of storage and handling of stored water also contributed to the contamination.

"Water samples from polyethylene reservoirs were of the best quality while water stored in cement reservoirs were the most polluted," he said.

Attributing this to the fact that most polyethylene were placed on high structures and fitted with taps, whiles most cement reservoirs were low placed and all sorts of containers dipped into such reservoirs to draw the water.

Mr Cobbina, therefore, recommended that further research should be undertaken to ascertain the quantity of chlorine needed in the distribution system to preserve water to the farthest point of the distribution network.

He also recommended that the Water Company should continue with the changing of the old pipelines, so as to eliminate the easy introduction of foreign materials into the distribution system as a result of leakage.

"Residents ought to be sensitised to report as early as possible breakages in their vicinities so as to minimise contamination resulting from the introduction of contaminants via broken pipelines," Mr Cobbina said.

He also recommended that taps and pumps should be fitted on water storage facilities to prevent the use of buckets and cups and other containers to draw water. 10 June 04