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Quality checks ensure that water is safe to drink

Published on: 30/05/2020

Asutifi North District is doing a pilot study on conducting smart tests.

Material prepared by a team from the Ghana National Development Planning Commission and IRC Ghana

Janet Atebiya purifying the mouth of the pump at Kenyasi, before testing the water for E. coli

Janet Atebiya purifying the mouth of the pump at Kenyasi, before testing the water for E. coli

Janet Atebiya, water quality manager for Ghana Water Company, soaks a piece of wadding in ethanol and lights it. She holds the flame steady at the mouth of a water pump. For more than 90 seconds the flame burns yellow and blue and after a while the metal of the pump mouth can be seen to develop a sheen.

Assistant manager Andrew Sadique uses the pump to extinguish the flame and they carefully collect a sample of the water in a bottle from the purified pump and store it in a container to take back to the laboratory.

Later that day they will test the water for microbial analysis – more specifically for E. coli, one of the most common causes of diarrhoea.

Water pumps across Ghana are rarely tested because the process can be expensive and because the emphasis has historically been on quantity of water.

But here in Asutifi North a pilot study is under way to conduct smart tests more quickly to check on the quality of the water being provided and to bring down the cost.  The water quality team from Ghana Water are carrying out a reduced number of tests that between them give a reliable guide to the overall quality.

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