The microbial quality of ground- and surface water in a groundwater-dependant peri-urban setting - implications for health, future use and equity.
Hand-dug wells are the primary source of water in this peri-urban community. Water samples collected over a two year period revealed high concentrations of faecal indicator organisms which highlight the lack of sanitation and sewerage systems in the area.
CSIR researchers also found that nitrate often exceeded safe levels as defined by South African water quality guidelines. High nitrate concentrations can be particularly harmful to infants in the community as they are more susceptible to the effects.
The next phase of the study involves a focus on the socio-cultural aspects of water usage in the community. During this process, researchers find out how people use the resource and determine their level of understanding with regard to water safety.
The final phase of the project will be providing tailor-made solutions aimed at serving the community and guiding municipalities on how to better serve residents.
Wouter Le Roux