oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Faecal contamination of rural drinking water in a commercial farming area in Zimbabwe

Volume 34, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The bacterial quality of drinking water from various sources of supply was monitored in February, March and April 1987 and in household containers in March 1987 in farming communities in the Burma Valley area of Zimbabwe. Faecal coliform (FC) counts were used as an indicator of faecal contamination. The range of FC counts was wide from 0 to > 10000/100 ml of sample water. The bacterial quality of borehole water supplies was satisfactory (10 or less FC/100 ml) and significantly better (t-test, p<0.001) than the quality of river water, piped river water and piped mountain stream water, which were of poor quality. Approximately 45 percent of the drinking water samples examined had satisfactory FC counts (0-10 FC/l00 ml), but these supplies were only available to about one third of the population in the study area. The bacterial quality of drinking water sampled in household containers was markedly lower than that sampled at the source of supply suggesting that much contamination takes place during collection or in the households. Recommendations on how to improve the quality of drinking water in the farming communities are given.

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