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Research Paper | October 10, 2022

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A quantity-quality tradeoff: Water quality and poverty assessment of drinking water sources in Southern Tanzania

Nancy I. Maungu, Tula M. Ngasala, Revocatus L. Machunda

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.21(4), 48-56, October 2022

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Abstract

Despite being key to people’s survival, accessing potable water remains a challenge in many rural African areas and exposes communities to waterborne diseases. In this paper, a study was conducted to establish the most secure water source in the study area in terms of quality and access. The quality of five drinking water sources in rural southern Tanzania was assessed using the water quality index (WQI). Water stress was ascertained using the water poverty index (WPI). Out of 88 households in the community, a socioeconomic survey of 26 households was conducted to quantify water accessibility against four selected WPI components (distance to water sources, preference, seasonal availability, and quality). The results indicated that all water sources were of poor quality, with surface water and shallow wells yielding WQI of 222.5 and 112 respectively (> 50 excellent, < 300 unsuitable). The WPI scores however indicated that shallow wells were more secure at 45.7 compared to surface water at 33.8 (0-poorest levels, 100-best levels). The study concludes that shallow wells were the most secure water sources in the study area in terms of quality and accessibility. We recommend adequate treatment of water before use and urgent provision of the community with safe, reliable, and easy access to water.

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A quantity-quality tradeoff: Water quality and poverty assessment of drinking water sources in Southern Tanzania

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