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Urban water services in fragile states: An analysis of drinking water sources and quality in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Monrovia, Liberia

TitleUrban water services in fragile states: An analysis of drinking water sources and quality in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Monrovia, Liberia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKumpel E, Peletz R, Albert J., de Waal D, Hirn D., Danilenko V., Uhl V., Daw A., Khush, iv R
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume95
Issue1
Start Page229
Pagination229-238
Date Published07/2016
Abstract

Establishing and maintaining public water services in fragile states is a significant development challenge. In anticipation of water infrastructure investments, this study compares drinking water sources and quality between Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Monrovia, Liberia, two cities recovering from political and economic instability. In both cities, access to piped water is low, and residents rely on a range of other private and public water sources. In Port Harcourt, geographic points for sampling were randomly selected and stratified by population density, whereas in Monrovia, locations for sampling were selected from a current inventory of public water sources. In Port Harcourt, the sampling frame demonstrated extensive reliance on private boreholes and a preference, in both planned and unplanned settlements, for drinking bottled and sachet water. In Monrovia, sample collection focused on public sources (predominantly shallow dug wells). In Port Harcourt, fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) were detected in 25% of sources (N = 566), though concentrations were low. In Monrovia, 57% of sources contained FIB and 22% of sources had nitrate levels that exceeded standards (N = 204). In Monrovia, the convenience of piped water may promote acceptance of the associated water tariffs. However, in Port Harcourt, the high prevalence of self-supply and bottled and sachet drinking water suggests that the consumer's willingness to pay for ongoing municipal water supply improvements may be determined by service reliability and perceptions of water quality.

DOI10.4269/ajtmh.15-0766