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1.1 Sources of Water Supply
The importance of water

Water is one of the most important substances on earth. All

plants and animals must have water to survive. If there was
no water there would be no life on earth.

Plants and animals need water.

Apart from drinking it to survive, people have many other
uses for water. These include : cooking
washing their bodies
washing clothes
washing cooking and eating utensils
keeping houses and communities clean
recreation; such as swimming pools
keeping plants alive in gardens and parks

Some domestic uses of water.


70% of earth consist water

3%is freshwater and 97% is saline
Water is a tasteless, odorless and
colorless liquid
Wateris the chemical substance with
chemical formula H2O: one molecule of
water has two hydrogen atoms
covalently bonded to a single oxygen
Sources of water

There are many ways in which we can collect water.

a. Surface water resources

1) Rivers or lakes
Town or community water supplies are sometimes drawn
directly from nearby rivers or lakes.

Rivers and lakes can supply water.

2) Reservoirs/dams

This water is collected from a special area called

acatchment. The catchment feeds water into a holding
area via rivers, streams and creeks. The water is then
stored in a natural or artificial (manmade) barrier called
adam or reservoir. Dams are usually placed at the lower
end of a valley.

A surface water dam.

3) Ocean

b. Groundwater resources

1) A bore and well.

2) Aquifer
1.2 Surface and Ground Water
Quality Characteristics
a. Physical characteristics
. Turbidity
Turbidity is muddiness created by stirring up sediment or
having foreign particles suspended.
. Taste and odour
Taste and odour is hard to measure as there is considerable
differences among people as to which tastes and odours are
. Colour
Colour measured is defined as "apparent colour"; "true
colour" is measured in water samples from which particulate
matter has been removed by centrifugation.
. Temperature
The degree or intensity of heat present.
b. Chemical characteristics
. pH
pH expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a logarithmic scale.
. Acidity
Values on a logarithmic scale below than 7.
. Alkalinity
Values on a logarithmic scale more than 7.
. Hardness
Hardness of water is water that has high mineral content.
. Chlorides
A compound of chlorine with another element or group.
. Sulphates
A salt or ester of sulfuric acid, containing the anion SO 42
. Iron
Very hard and immovable.
. Solids
Firm and stable in shape; not liquid or fluid.
. Nitrates
A salt or ester of nitric acid, containing the anion NO 3or the group NO3
c. Biological characteristics
. Coliform
Coliformbacteria are a commonly used bacterial indicator of
sanitary quality of foods and water
. Bacteria
Bacteria are microscopic organisms whose single cells have
neither a membrane-enclosed nucleus nor other membrane-
enclosed organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts.
. Virus
Ultramicroscopic infectious agent that replicates itself only
within cells of living hosts.
. Protozoa
A phylum or grouping of phyla that comprises the single-celled
microscopic animals, which include amebas, flagellates and
1.3 Water contaminant
Diseases in Indigenous communities caused by germs
from polluted water

Bacterial diseases
acute diarrhoea (caused by E. coli)
Viral diseases
hepatitis A
hookworm infection (there is some evidence that hookworm
larvae can live in drinking water)
Fig. 6.12: Stomach upsets can be caused by contaminated drinking water.

The germs may get into the water:

Directly by :
a lagoon overflow effluent pipe discharging into a river or stream supplying drinking
the presence of dead animals in the water
people or other animals swimming, washing or going to the toilet in a drinking water
Indirectly by :
contamination from an effluent system, such as a leach drain too close to a bore or the
overflow from a lagoon flowing into a water supply
people washing themselves or going to the toilet in or near a water source