CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDYGenerally, one of the most important and most precious resources is water. Water is a resource that biodiversity around the globe cannot do without. Water is a major integral part of all living creatures. For example, according to Gore (2006), water forms about two-thirds of the body weight of humans. Even though the earth is covered with a large capacity of water, Ashfaq and Ahmed (2014) indicate that, solely 1% is inland fresh water and readily accessible for human usage.
Presently, over two billion people do not have access to potable drinking water worldwide (Onda et al., 2012). The result of drinking insecure, unwholesome water is yet not fully apprehended. Drinking unsafe water according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) is one of the key outcomes of diarrhoeal diseases and these diseases make up the second leading cause of child mortality (W.H.
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O, 2014). As a result of this, the most critical factor that negatively influences the general health and wellbeing of populations in developing countries has been identified by the W.H.O as the lack of access to clean drinking water (Hoko, 2005).
Mostly, preventable deaths like those resulting from waterborne diseases can be reduced or eliminated by the provision of safe drinking water which improves the quality of life of low-income households around the world (Lawson, 2011). An important source of water supply for about one-third of the world’s population is ground water(Nickson et al., 2005).
Groundwater makes up nearly 90% of the world’s readily accessible freshwater resources, with the 10% remaining from reservoirs, rivers, lakes and wetlands (UNEP, 2002). Groundwater is the most dependable source of drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa (Iyasele and Idiata, 2011).Relatively, groundwater contamination is not as ordinary as surface water but once contaminated, treatment is usually demanding and time wasting (Agbaire and Oyibo, 2009). One of the main environmental issues today is groundwater contamination due to inappropriate and indiscriminate disposal of sewage, chemical and industrial waste (Obot and Edi, 2012). Physical, chemical and biological variables of groundwater may be influenced by these sources of contamination (Sappa et al., 2013). Faecal coliforms, nitrates and pesticides are contaminants that are generally related with groundwater contamination. Also, human activity like land use is often connected to groundwater pollution (Schot and van der Wal, 1992).
It is therefore necessary to determine the quality of groundwater before it can be used for human consumption. Due to financial and poor quality control issues sometimes, this is not always the case in many developing countries (Hoko, 2005). Physico-chemical and microbiological checking of water quality in such countries could serve as an appropriate tool for investigating possible contamination and to assist decision-makers in assessing the usefulness of regulatory programmes in handling water resources (Pusatli et al., 2009). The WHO accepts these procedures in its guidelines for drinking water quality (W.H.O., 2011).
In this document, the W.H.O indicates its health based goals for many possible water contaminants. These goals entail any measurable health, water quality or performance indicators that are accepted based on a judgment of safety and risk assessments of waterborne hazards. The health based goals for contaminants provide a structure for creating a water safety plan, attaining safe drinking water and maintaining water monitoring by policymakers (W.H.O, 2011).