Namawala water quality and sanitary survey research

After the initial dry season sampling of 90 water points in Namawala the research team (Nova, Fatuma, Liberatus and myself) returned to the field to individually inform households about the quality of their water. If the household's water was found to contain E. coli then they was informed of the risks of diarrheal disease. They were also informed how they could improve their water quality by:
  1. Treating water in the household (filtration, boiling, chemical addition)
  2. Improving their water point by installing a borehole and closed pump, and
  3. Reducing sources of contamination, namely deep pit latrines, animal pens and rubbish pits.
MSABI lab technician Fatuma, communicating water quality results to a household elder.
For many households the women were responsible for discussing water quality results with MSABI representatives. 
In addition to informing households of their results, a sanitary survey for each water point was undertaken. The sanitary survey recorded the proximity of likely sources of contamination such as latrines and animals.

Liberatus measuring the distance from a water point to a latrine. Latrines were frequently hidden from view and required a bit of searching to locate them all.

The type and condition of the latrine was also recorded.  This is a typical squat pit latrine - whereby the waste drops into a hole.  Such latrines are a likely source of shallow aquifer pollution, particularly in the wet season when the water table rises and floods the pit, releasing waste contamination into the water.  People who use shallow open wells for drinking water (often the wells are of similar depth as a pit latrine) are at high risk of diarrheal diseases such as typhoid and cholera.

Pigs in pens with the water point in the background.  Pig and animal wastes can enter open wells through surface run-off during rain events.
Additionally, the water point was evaluated for its protective ability against contamination including the drainage, masonry condition and if it was covered or not.

Nova and Fatuma measuring the height of the well edge and the well depth.

The next stage in the research is to correlate the sanitary survey information with the water quality data to try and determine the main sources of faecal contamination.