Quality of vended water and its implications on price and health risks on the households in Msimbazi sub catchment, Dar es salaam- Tanzania
Inadequate piped water supplies in urban centres is a growing problem; making communities resort to buying vended water. In recent years, vended water has become a major source of drinking water in most of the urban areas in the world. This study assessed the quality of vended water and its implications on price and health risks to households in Msimbazi sub catchment Dar es salaam, Tanzania. It involved assessing the physical, chemical and micro-biological quality of the vended water from different sources and comparing the findings with the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) water quality. Specifically, the study (i) Investigated the sources and quality of vended water vis- a- vis its related health risks in Msimbazi sub catchment. (ii) Examined factors influencing price variations of vended water (iii) Determined measures necessary to improve water service provision by vendors. Data was collected using structured Questionnaires administered to the vended water sellers, users at households and owners of the community water kiosks and boreholes from different point sources of the vended water. Key informants from the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) were interviewed. Additionally, laboratory analysis of the water samples was done for Potentiality of Hydrogen (pH), Microbial quality (Total Coli forms (TC) and Faecal Coli forms (FC)), Turbidity, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Nitrates N03–, Ammonia- Nitrogen NH4-N, Nitrite N02-, Chloride Cl–, Temperature, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Sulphate SO4, Total Hardness (TH) and Colour. Information on sources of vended water was obtained through observation. Secondary sources of data such as review of available literature relevant to the problem under study were utilized to validate research findings. Data obtained was analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative techniques included descriptive statistics such as cross-tabulation, frequencies, percentages and means were done using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 18.0 and Microsoft office Excel 2007. The qualitative analysis included the use of Strength Weakness Opportunities Threats (SWOT) analysis of water vendor and the existing publc water utility DAWASCO in water service provision. The study found that water from all vendor categories namely: Car Tankers (CT), Push Carts (PC), Tap Water (TW) and Bore Hole (BH) had Total Coli forms (TC) and Faecal Coli forms (FC) beyond the WHO and TBS standards posing high risk of diseases and other health related problems. In addition, BH vended water was of low quality with the highest TC of 1600 MPN/100ml against the TBS acceptable limit of 1 to 3 MPN/100ml and zero levels of FC. Although the physical chemical parameters of turbidity, pH and TSS, TH, NO3, NH4-N, were within the standards, the Cl–, SO4, N02-, EC and colour were not. Furthermore, the study found that dependence on sole source by DAWASCO, inadequate water infrastructure exacerbated the water shortages thereby affecting the pricing. Likewise, high electricity pump running costs, distance from the source and transport charges contributed to the variation in pricing of vended water. Though observations from the study area showed few signs of success in the provision of water services by the vendors, these were extremely fragmented and uncoordinated. This study suggested the following mitigation: the recognition of vendor roles by government and other water authorities, the formation of their associations and boosting sober collaboration with other water sector stakeholders. The study puts forward the following recommendations: the review of the water sector policy, creation of partnerships with utilities and water vendors, addressing the rampant water shortages by DAWASCO and, expanding and drilling deep boreholes.