Engineering and Technology Quarterly Reviews
Published: 14 September 2020
Comparative Study of Water Quality From Boreholes and Hand-Dug Wells: Case of Namatapa in Bangwe Township
University of Malawi
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Keywords: Coliforms, Groundwater, Malawi, Physicochemical
Access to safe drinking water is a major problem in Malawi. Residents in Bangwe Township use water from boreholes and hand-dug wells for consumption. The question that arises is how safe is this water. Present study seeks to comparatively assess water quality from boreholes and hand-dug wells located at Namatapa, Bangwe Township. Water samples from two boreholes at 1 km apart and two hand-dug wells at 1.1 km apart were analysed for physicochemical and biological parameters using recommended methods. Sampling was done in the wet season over a period of three months. Results showed that coliforms exceeded the recommended guideline values for drinking water according to World Health Organisation and Malawi Bureau of standards. Values in excess of 462 cfu/100 ml and 10 cfu/100ml were observed in hand-dug wells and boreholes respectively. Suspended solids, Turbidity, pH, Nitrate and Total dissolved solids were all within the acceptable limits. The study results demystify the community belief that borehole water is always safer than hand-dug well water. Therefore, there is a need for authorities to provide portable water in the area so that residents should stop consuming untreated water from boreholes and hand-dug wells.
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