Contamination of Nigerian drinking water
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Sci Total Environ. 2014 May 22;490C:301-312. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.05.010. [Epub ahead of print] Examining the influence of urban definition when assessing relative safety of drinking-water in Nigeria. Christenson E1, Bain R1, Wright J2, Aondoakaa S3, Hossain R4, Bartram J5.
Reducing inequalities is a priority from a human rights perspective and in water and public health initiatives.
There are periodic calls for differential national and global standards for rural and urban areas, often justified by the suggestion that, for a given water source type, safety is worse in urban areas. For instance, initially proposed post-2015 water targets included classifying urban but not rural protected dug wells as unimproved.
The objectives of this study were to:
- (i) examine the influence of urban extent definition on water safety in Nigeria,
- (ii) compare the frequency of thermotolerant coliform (TTC) contamination and prevalence of sanitary risks between rural and urban water sources of a given type and
- (iii) investigate differences in exposure to contaminated drinking-water in rural and urban areas.
We use spatially referenced data from a Nigerian national randomized sample survey of five improved water source types to assess the extent of any disparities in urban-rural safety. We combined the survey data on TTC and sanitary risk with map layers depicting urban versus rural areas according to eight urban definitions.
When examining water safety separately for each improved source type, we found no significant urban-rural differences in TTC contamination and sanitary risk for groundwater sources (boreholes and protected dug wells) and inconclusive findings for piped water and stored water. However, when improved and unimproved source types were combined, TTC contamination was 1.6 to 2.3 times more likely in rural compared to urban water sources depending on the urban definition.
Our results suggest that different targets for urban and rural water safety are not justified and that rural dwellers are more exposed to unsafe water than urban dwellers. Additionally, urban-rural analyses should assess multiple definitions or indicators of urban to assess robustness of findings and to characterize a gradient that disaggregates the urban-rural dichotomy.
Drinking water quality; Geographic Information Systems; Rural; Urban; Water Supply