Water quality deterioration in piped water and its effect on usage and customers’ perception: case study of Adum- Kumasi, Ghana

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Assessment of drinking water quality is important for sustainable development. Safe water is the door way to health and health is the pre-requisite for progress, social equity and human dignity. A study on households’ drinking water quality in Western Accra of Ghana from the Weija head-works revealed that the supplied water at some locations did not meet the potable water quality standard. This being the case, the question then arises as to whether it is an isolated case, or that the situation may be recurring in other parts of the country. The main goal of this study was to determine the water quality deterioration in piped water and its effect on water usage and customers’ perception at Adum in the Kumasi Metropolis of the Republic of Ghana. The specific objective of the study were to determine the quality of the treated water at Barekese headworks, to determine the quality of water from the household taps in the selected study area and to investigate customer perception on the quality of water delivered and its effect on usage. Fifty (50) water samples were taken from the Barekese Headworks, Suame reservoir and households at Adum. The samples were analyzed for the following selected physicochemical and bacteriological parameters: pH, ammonia, residual chlorine, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, calcium hardness, magnesium hardness, total hardness, magnesium, calcium, total iron, manganese, nitrate-nitrogen, turbidity, temperature, Escherichia coli, salmonella and faecal coliform. Consumer perception survey was used to examine the consumers’ perception of the water quality and how it affects their usage of the supplied water. The study revealed that the mean concentrations of all of the investigated physicochemical parameters in the drinking water samples were within the permissible limits of the World Health Organization (WHO)/Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) drinking water quality guidelines. More than half of the water samples collected from the Barekese Headworks, Suame reservoir and households indicated minimal contamination by E.coli and other coliform especially. Many (86%) customers did not have problems with the taste of the water whilst 84% of the customers had no problem with the smell of the water supplied. Eighty (80%) of the customers were satisfied with the colour of the water. The major complaint (50%) was with the sediment content of the water which needs to be looked at. All the consumers complained about the quality of the water supplied immediately after interruption. Customers’ perception of the water taste, smell and colour affected their choice of the water for drinking. The consumers’ usage of the water for drinking was independent of the sediment content. Usage of the water for cooking among the respondents was not influenced by their perception about the aesthetic appearance of the water.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Resources Management