Drinking Water Suitability from the Karaga Dam in the Northern Region, Ghana

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The study was conducted on physico-chemical parameters and microbial quality of water from the Karaga dam in Northern region of Ghana from July, 2011 to August, 2012. The study was aimed at assessing its suitability and safety for drinking purposes. Two stations were selected for the study based on where the community fetches water and the type of containers used for fetching the water. Two samples were collected per month from both stations from March, 2012 to June, 2012. The parameters analyzed included pH, temperature, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and electrical conductivity (EC) were determined using Jenway 4520 conductivity meter. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) were determined by the Winkler method. Nutrients measured included nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 -N), sulphate (SO4 2-) and Sodium (Na+) which were determined spectrophotometrically. The microbial quality (total coliform and faecal coliform) parameters were determined using membrane filtration method. The results obtained included mean total coliforms ranged between 320 and 4110 CFU/100 ml, faecal coliform 128 and 1540 CFU/100 ml were above the Ghana Standards Board and World Health Organisation guidelines for drinking water. This could be due to direct defaecation and urination by wild and domestic animals that come to drink water, the donkeys used to fetch water and human excreta washed from the surrounding by rain into the dam. However, the microbial numbers were not significantly different (P>0.05) from station one and two. In general, pH values fell within the stipulated range of Ghana Standards Board and World Health Organisation for drinking water except in June which recorded values of 8.8 and 9.0 at both stations. All other values of the physic-chemical parameters fell below the stipulated range of Ghana Standards Board and World Health Organisation for drinking water. Due to the high numbers of total and faecal coliform counts of the water, some form of treatment like boiling could be done before drinking.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, College Of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science.