July 2023

Unveiling Water Quality Insights: Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda

The Aquaya Institute is coordinating longitudinal water quality monitoring in seven districts within Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda with funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Numbe rof water samples

Key takeaways

  • E. coli levels varied among geographic locations, but results showed boreholes with hand pumps and piped water systems were consistently the safest water points across districts and seasons. 
  • Adequate chlorination of piped water systems was not common, particularly in Ethiopia and Ghana. Piped system water quality varied substantially between seasons in some districts, sometimes tracking lower in the wet season when free chlorine residual levels were also lower. 
  • In most districts, wealthier households had better water quality than poorer households (see the example from Asutifi North, Ghana, in Figure 1).

Figure 1: E. coli levels in stored household water samples in Asutifi North District by wealth quintile.

General Recommendations

1. Piped water systems should be treated with adequate chlorine to maintain ≥0.2mg/L residual at all taps in the distribution system. The chlorine dose should be carefully monitored, particularly in the wet season.

2. Water sources with lower levels of microbial contamination, such as boreholes and piped systems with adequate treatment, should be made more accessible to households with lower socioeconomic status.

3. For households, particularly those with lower socioeconomic status, education is needed to encourage:

  • Use safer water points such as boreholes with hand pumps and piped systems
  • Safe water storage in a covered container with a narrow opening
  • Household water treatment for any untreated source

Water quality results

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