Assessing the Risks of Domestic Underground Water Sources in Informal Settlement in Kabwe – Zambia

Worldwide, informal settlements are a hot spot for disaster threats. They are distinguished by minimal basic service provision. Usually, informal settlements occupy land perceived to be unsuitable for residential or commercial use. Water is not properly supported as a vital life support resource. Typically, residents rely on contaminated water supplies from hand dug wells. A big facility for sanitary purposes is pit latrines. In addition, a common aspect is the high population density of informal settlements living in poor housing units. Due to the proximity of sanitation facilities to unprotected shallow wells, the risks of underground water pollution are high, raising the likelihood of E. coli and coli feacal contamination. This paper presents a case concerning the informal settlement of Makululu in Zambia. A total of 385 respondents were selected at random, while main informants were identified by deliberate sampling. For coli type and E. coli, water samples obtained from 12 hand dug wells located near pit latrines were examined. Before and after the rainy season, research was conducted to examine the relationship between pit latrines and wells, as well as the relationship with the pattern of distribution of rainfall to assess risk levels. Water was tested based on the presence of E. coli and coli type, to assess the levels of contamination. Laboratory findings showed that faecal coliforms are highly polluted by 90% of the water ingested in Makululu informal settlement. The findings of this research also indicate that tap water may be safer, but extra sampling is needed. It is also important to encourage the basic treatment of water at the community or household level by chemical disinfection using chlorine, filtration using simple household filters, and boiling.

Author (s) Details

Dr. Adrian Phiri
Mulungushi University, Disaster Management Training Centre, Kabwe, Zambia.

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