Assessment of groundwater quality and urban water provision: a case of Taifa Township in the Ga-East District of the Greater Accra Region, Ghana

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March, 2008
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Population growth and industrialisation have put a lot of pressure on water resources the world over. Accra, the capital city of the country, is overpopulated due to the influx of people from the various regions to seek greener pastures. The conventional water treatment facility thus, cannot meet the potable water demands of residents. Individuals have resorted therefore to managing their own water supplies and one of such resorts is to develop and harness groundwater resources through drilling of individual boreholes. The study, conducted between December 2007 and January 2008, determined the extent to which groundwater is being used as domestic water supply in Taifa, Ga-East District, Greater Accra region and also assessed the quality of the water. One hundred and twenty heads of households were interviewed using a structured questionnaire and information on demographic characteristics and the use of the ground water were recorded. Twenty two out of the 120 respondents (18.3%) had boreholes in their houses. Houses with boreholes were identified and noted. A hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) device was used to pick the locations of the boreholes. Samples of groundwater were taken from twenty-two sites and analysed for physico-chemical parameters (namely calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, carbonate, sulphate, chloride, total iron, manganese, fluoride, zinc , lead ,pH , total alkalinity , conductivity , total dissolved solids, nitrate ,nitrite, turbidity, phosphate) and indicators for faecal contamination (total coliforms and faecal coliforms).The groundwater was found to be acidic (pH 3.89 to 6.80) . High levels of sodium and chloride were detected at one site (270mg/l and 516mg/l respectively). Conductivity and total dissolved solids were also high at the same site (2210µs/cm and 1216mg/l) respectively. Lead and carbonate were not present in any of the water samples, upon analyses, whereas potassium, calcium and magnesium concentrations were within their respective World Health Organisation guideline limits (30mg/l, 200mg/l and 150mg/l respectively). Total coliforms and faecal coliforms were present in 27.3% of samples. Residents generally did not know when they would get access to pipe-borne water but they however believed it was the government’s responsibility to provide pipe-borne water. All respondents indicated that they used the water for cooking, bathing and washing clothes whereas 54% drank the water; the remaining 46% did not drink the water. Groundwater in the area is of varying levels of quality in terms of physico-chemical and bacteriological quality. It should therefore be regularly monitored for water quality.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science