INTRODUCTION1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDYGenerally, one of the most important and most valuable natural resource is water. It is a resource that biodiversity around the globe cannot do without. Water is a major constituent of all living things. For example, according to Gore (2006), water makes up about two-thirds of the human body weight. Even though the earth is covered with large volume of water, Ashfaq and Ahmed (2014) indicate that, only 1% is inland fresh water and readily available for human use. Currently, about two billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water (Onda et al., 2012). The result of drinking insecure, unclean water is yet not fully apprehended. Drinking unsafe water according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) is one of the key causes of diarrhoeal diseases and these diseases make up the second leading cause of child mortality (W.H.O, 2014). As a result of this, the most critical factor that negatively influences the general health and wellbeing of populations in developing countries has been identified by the W.H.O as the lack of access to clean drinking water (Hoko, 2005). Mostly, preventable deaths like those resulting from waterborne diseases can be reduced or eliminated by the provision of safe drinking water which improves the quality of life of low-income households around the world (Lawson, 2011).
An important source of water supply for about one-third of the world’s population is ground water (Nickson et al., 2005). Groundwater makes up nearly 90% of the world’s readily accessible freshwater resources, with the 10% remaining from reservoirs, rivers, lakes and wetlands (UNEP, 2002). Groundwater is the most dependable source of drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa (Iyasele and Idiata, 2011).

Relatively, groundwater contamination is not as ordinary as surface water but once contaminated, treatment is usually demanding and time wasting (Agbaire and Oyibo, 2009). One of the main environmental issues today is groundwater contamination due to inappropriate and indiscriminate disposal of sewage, chemical and industrial waste (Obot and Edi, 2012). Physical, chemical and biological variables of groundwater may be influenced by these sources of contamination (Sappa et al., 2013). Faecal coliforms, nitrates and pesticides are contaminants that are generally related with groundwater contamination. Also, human activity like land use is often connected to groundwater pollution (Schot and van der Wal, 1992). It is therefore necessary to determine the quality of groundwater before it can be used for human consumption. Due to financial and poor quality control issues sometimes, this is not always the case in many developing countries (Hoko, 2005). Physico-chemical and microbiological checking of water quality in such countries could serve as an appropriate tool for investigating possible contamination and to assist decision-makers in assessing the usefulness of regulatory programmes in handling water resources (Pusatli et al., 2009). The WHO accepts these procedures in its guidelines for drinking water quality (W.H.O., 2011). In this document, the W.H.O indicates its health based goals for many possible water contaminants. These goals entail any measurable health, water quality or performance indicators that are accepted based on a judgment of safety and risk assessments of waterborne hazards. The health based goals for contaminants provide a structure for creating a water safety plan, attaining safe drinking water and maintaining water monitoring by policymakers.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENTSafe drinking water is not a wealth but one of the most important necessities of life itself (Abanyie et al., 2016). Water is basically essential to all man, animals and plants. But, drinking water has always been a significant problem in many countries including Ghana. Ghana as a middle-income country has numerous challenges which include the provision of potable water for its fast growing population to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (Obuobie and Boubacar, 2010). Most of the rural settlements in Ghana do not have access to safe drinking water hence depend on surface water from sources like rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs of which its quality is in doubt therefore the indication of water related diseases like guinea worm, diarrhea, etc. This challenge is even more noticeable in the northern parts of the country where surface water is contaminated and small towns and communities are not served with water by the central water production hence making access to drinking water difficult. Due to the difficulty and the high cost of treating polluted surface water, people have been compelled to turn their attention to the use of groundwater because it is often perceived to be safe for use compared to surface water (Quist et al., 1998).Thus, groundwater has become an important source of safe water supply for the rural communities within the country. The quest for safe and good water has brought about the exploitation of groundwater and it is important to know that this comes with some form of contamination. Groundwater sometimes contain dissolved minerals and chemicals which are the key threats to the effect of total dependence on groundwater as a source of drinking water and may impact adversely on water quality and hence affect human health (Fianko et al., 2010). This implies that groundwater as a major source of water could have negative effect on the health and wellbeing of many people. Groundwater development in the rural communities of Talensi, Ghana have often been restricted due to the high fluoride content in some aquifers, anthropogenic activities such as seepage of agrochemicals, improper waste disposal and mining activities. For instance at Bongo, Tongo, and Datuku in the Talensi district in the Upper East Region, groundwater is reported to be contaminated with high levels of fluoride and heavy metals probably caused by the mineral content of the aquifers (Personal Communication with the Talensi District Assembly Engineer, 2017).Also various studies of fluoride presence in Ghana revealed Bongo district in the Upper East Region as one of such areas having high fluoride content especially in the Bongo granite (Apambire et al., 19997).

Groundwater in the Talensi District of the Upper East region run a high risk of contamination with municipal, agrochemicals and domestic waste because of the intensity of agricultural and mining activities. Contaminants released on the earth’s surface may quickly get to the aquifer and move for long distance in a very short time between favorable pathways (Tazioli et al., 1995). Therefore, groundwater is fairly exposed to contamination from different sources.

Notwithstanding the fact that an annual evaluation of water quality is always carried out in some countries, this is not the case in many parts of Ghana, especially in communities in the Talensi district. Due to this, water contamination events have been overlooked possibly leading to significant effects on human lives. For instance, in Ghana, at Ofoase Kokobin in the Amansie East District and Asemanya in Kwabre District some respondents in a survey of user satisfaction of community water systems showed concern about possible contamination resulting from equipment corrosion. Others also suggested that possible contamination by undesirable materials turned water milky after heavy rainfall (Entsua-Mensah et al., 2007).The quality of water for drinking is a key indicator of health for users. Hence, regular quality measures are required.
There are about 161 boreholes in the Talensi-Nabdam district and these boreholes currently face challenges of good management and quality test. The water quality of the boreholes was tested in the year the boreholes were drilled thus they lack periodic quality control checks (Adugbire et al., 2010). This study was therefore undertaken to assess the quality of groundwater to confirm their benefits as well as the health implications of the water on the communities that largely depend on it.

1.3 OBJECTIVESThe main objective of this study was to assess the quality of groundwater in selected communities in the Talensi district of the Upper East region of Ghana.

The study was specifically designed:
To determine the level of contaminants in the groundwater in the Talensi district.

To investigate pathways through which contaminants reach groundwater in the Talensi district.

To examine the indigenous knowledge and perceptions on groundwater quality.
To find out the health implications of contaminated groundwater on the lives of people in the Talensi district.

To assess the treatment requirements of the groundwater.

1.4 JUSTIFICATION AND SIGNIFICANCEAvailability of good and reliable source of water is an important condition for sustained population growth and development (Asonye et al., 2007). Access to potable drinking water is vital as a health and development issue at the local, regional and national levels. The usefulness of groundwater is mostly taken for granted. It is a mysterious resource-out of sight out of mind (Mac Donald et al., 2009). According to UNEP (2002), groundwater constitutes nearly 90% of the world’s fresh water, with the 10% remaining from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and wetlands. An exploration survey conducted in Ghana by the Water Research Institute indicated that about 90% of the rural settlements and 25% of urban settlements rely solely on groundwater for their domestic needs. This implies that about 10% of rural communities depend on the central water production (WRI, 1993).

However, in the Talensi district in the Upper East region, small towns and rural communities are not assisted by central water production and treatment systems that carry out frequent quality control checks. Also, no frequent quality check is carried out on the groundwater that serve these rural communities which may be contaminated with chemicals, solid waste and faecal matter due to the groundwater taking its source from rivers and streams. Residents in the district rely solely on groundwater hence there is the need to assess the quality of groundwater to make sure that people using this resource are really drinking safe water because access to potable drinking water is important to health, a fundamental human right and an element of development of useful policy for health protection. It is therefore necessary to conduct the study to determine the quality of groundwater in the district. This study also aims to give explicit information on the different substances and heavy metals and their level of concentration from borehole water. The result is possible to assist in minimizing the impact of these substances on human health.

The results from this research might be of use to policymakers, stakeholders, development organizations, water service providers and researchers in designing institutional infrastructures, policies and strategies to supply quality and available water resources to communities. The research will also help create people’s awareness on water quality and related water borne disease. It will also serve as a source for which researchers in the field can build on for further study.

1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe research methodology explains the relevance of the procedures and designs that was used to get the appropriate information for the study. It focused on the study design, types and sources of data, sample size, sampling technique as well as collection and analysis of data on assessing the quality of groundwater in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. The methods that were used for this study are field investigation, sampling and laboratory analysis.

1.5.1 Study DesignThe focus of the study was to find out the quality of groundwater in the Talensi district. The study employed quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. Cluster sampling was used. The district map of Talensi was divided and grouped into three clusters. The clusters were labeled as WEST, CENTRAL and EAST areas. Random sampling was used to select one community from each cluster giving a total of three (3) communities to ensure reliable independent estimates for each community. This was also aid in obtaining an overall picture of the quality of groundwater in the district. Four boreholes were selected from each cluster for sampling, giving a total of twelve boreholes because this sampling technique is feasible and reduces variability. Water samples were taken from each of the clusters within the early period of the day.
1.5.2 Types and Sources of DataThe type of data used in the study was both primary and secondary data. Primary data included groundwater samples taken from hand pumped boreholes in the study area and the use of questionnaires. The secondary data was sourced from articles and journals online which provided more reliable information for the objectives of the study to be achieved.

1.5.3 Sample SizeGroundwater samples from 12 boreholes were collected in pre-clean bottles from each of the three (3) communities in the Talensi district namely; Winkongo, Tongo and Gbanda-Yale which was a representative of the entire total number of boreholes since assessing all the boreholes in the three communities was impossible, expensive and may not have provided the needed information quickly within the time frame for the study. The sample size chosen was also developed to get adequate and diverse views related to the effectiveness of groundwater quality.

1.5.3 Sampling TechniqueThe stratified sampling technique was used to divide the boreholes in the community into separate groups because in some of the communities, the boreholes were clustered at one place. Then a simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample from each group giving a total of four samples. This is because the conclusions drawn from such samples can be generalized to the total sampling population. The sampling method was easy to present, efficient and effective. It also gave an equal chance of each borehole been selected for the study. This implies that each borehole was randomly selected from each group. Four water samples were taken to represent the total number of boreholes from each of the three communities.

Selection of households within the community was simple random sampling where one hundred and eighty (180) respondents were selected since the research could not study all subjects in the population. Forty (40) respondents were selected from Gbanda-Yale, sixty (60) respondents from Tongo and eighty (80) respondents from Winkongo due to the population size for the three communities.
For the purpose of the study, information was sought from Water and Sanitation stakeholders for water data as well as health workers for data on water-related diseases often reported at the health centers.

1.5.4 Data CollectionBoth primary and secondary methods of collecting data were used. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Questionnaires were structured into two main types; open ended questionnaire and close ended questionnaire. Open ended questionnaires were used to gather responses from stakeholders at the Water and Sanitation management team in the district and health workers. This is because, it offers greater anonymity and increases the likelihood of obtaining accurate information. Questionnaires for households had both open ended and close ended questions. This helped in examining the knowledge and perceptions of the locals on groundwater quality and how this influenced their treatment and usage of the water as well as the activities undertaken by them that have the potential to contaminate the groundwater. This method ensured confidentiality of the respondent.

1.5.5 Water Sample CollectionSampling was done in January 2018. In all, a total of twelve (12) water samples were collected from the study communities. The locations of the sampling points were spread within the breadth and length of the community. The water samples were collected from boreholes using sterilized plastic bottles after pumping out water for about 3 minutes to flush out stagnant water in the pipes. The twelve water samples were collected into carefully labeled (see Table1) 750ml sterilized plastic bottles and tightly covered. An example of the labeled bottle is shown in Plate 1. The water sample bottles were rinsed with water from the borehole twice before samples collected (see Plate 2). This was done to ensure that the sampling bottles were free from all forms of contaminants. After rinsing the 750ml bottles, water was pumped into them and kept in a bag and transported to the water quality analysis laboratory at the Northern Regional Office of the Ghana Water Company in Tamale for analysis. The water samples collected were analyzed for various parameters to assess its usefulness for domestic purposes.

The parameters analyzed to determine the quality of groundwater were Color, Total hardness, Fluoride, Arsenic (As), Total Iron (Fe), Nitrate, Turbidity, Chloride, Total and Faecal coliforms. The values acquired were then compared with the World Health Organization (W.H.O) standards for drinking water to determine its suitability for usage.
Table 1: Sampling sites, sampling size and bottles used for samplingGbanda-Yale G1 Borehole at Gbanda-Yale labelled 1 1
G2 Borehole at Gbanda-Yale labelled 2 1
G3 Borehole at Gbanda-Yale labelled 3 1
G4 Borehole at Gbanda-Yale labelled 4 1
Tongo T1 Borehole at Tongo labelled 1 1
T2 Borehole at Tongo labelled 2 1
T3 Borehole at Tongo labelled 3 1
T4 Borehole at Tongo labelled 4 1
Winkongo W1 Borehole at Winkongo labelled 1 1
W2 Borehole at Winkongo labelled 2 1
W3 Borehole at Winkongo labelled 3 1
W4 Borehole at Winkongo labelled 4 1
Total 12
1.5.6 Analytical Procedure.The parameters which were used to analyse water quality from the boreholes were; Turbidity, colour, nitrate, iron, total hardness, chloride, fluoride, arsenic, total and faecal coliforms.

1.5.6.1 TurbidityTurbidity is a measure of water clarity; how milky or cloudy water is. Turbidity is an indicator of suspended sediment. Turbidity is measured in Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTUs). High turbidity values indicate low water clarity while low values indicate high water clarity (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 2008). Turbidity may be as a result of organic and/or inorganic elements. Too turbid water may increase the chances of waterborne diseases. However, inorganic elements have no health impact (Tiwari, 2015). The nephelometric method was used to determine turbidity. The reagents and apparatus used were; turbidimeter, 10ml sample cell/cuvette, tissue paper and distilled water. The procedure that was used in measuring turbidity is; 10ml sample cell was raised with distilled water. 10ml sample cell was filled with the sample to the mark. Another 10ml sample cell was filled with distilled water (blank). Both sample cells were wiped with rag to absorb any water and also with the tissue paper to clean any finger print. The turbidimeter was switched on and sample cell with distilled water was put into the hole and zero was pressed. The second sample cell (prepared sample) was put into the hole and read was pressed to record turbidity in NTU.
1.5.6.2 ColourColour is important for the measurement of water quality and monitoring other liquids. The color of water shows the presence of some organic pollutants and chemicals such as rust from iron pipes, copper from plumbing systems. The unit for measuring colour is Hue (HU). The method used in measuring color was Spectrophotometeric method. The reagents and apparatus used were spectrophotometer, 25ml sample cell, tissue paper and distilled water. The procedure used is as follows; 25ml sample cell was rinsed with distilled water. 25ml sample cell was filled with the sample to the mark. Another 25ml sample cell was filled with distilled water (blank). Both sample cells were wiped with a rag to absorb any water and also with the tissue paper to clean any finger print. The spectrophotometer was switched on and sample cell with distilled water was put into the hole and zero was pressed. The second sample cell (prepared sample) was put into the hole and read was pressed to record colour in HU.
1.5.6.3 NitrateNitrate is a form of nitrogen usually related to groundwater contamination (Bohlke et al., 2006). A major ingredient of farm fertilizer is nitrate and it is important for the production of crop. Nitrates move from farmland into nearby water sources when it rains. It also finds its way into groundwater from runoff, pit latrines, leaking septic tanks, manure from farm livestock and animal or human waste. Despite human activities are usually the cause of high levels of nitrate, they may also occur naturally in groundwater by breaking down the nitrogen compounds in the soil and as groundwater flows, it picks up the broken nitrogen compound from the soil (DMA, 2014). The method used to measure the level of nitrates at the water laboratory was Cadmium Reduction method, DR 2000, spectrophotometer, Handbook, Method8507 and the reagents used are spectrophotometer, 10ml sample cell/ cuvette, tissue paper, nitraver 6 nitrate reagent and 10ml pipette. Two of 25ml sample cell/ cuvette were filled with water sample and shaken very well. One nitraver 6 Nitrate reagent was added to one of the 25ml sample cell/ cuvette (prepared sample) and swirled to mix for 6minutes. Both sample cells were wiped with a rag to absorb any water and also with the tissue paper to clean any finger print. The spectrophotometer was programmed and adjusted to zero with the other 25ml sample cell (blank). The 25ml (prepared sample) was put into the cell hole and read was pressed to record nitrate as NO3- -N in mg/l (see Plate 3).

1.5.6.4 IronThe method used to measure iron was FerroVer method, DR 2000, spectrophotometer, Handbook and Method 8008. The reagents and apparatus used were spectrophotometer, 10ml sample cell/ cuvette, tissue paper, FerroVer powder reagent, 10ml pipette. Two of 10ml sample cell/ Cuvette were filled with water sample shaken very well. One ferroVer powder reagent was added to one of the 10ml sample cell/ Cuvette (prepared sample) and swirled to mix for 3minutes. Both sample cells were wiped with rag to absorb any water and also with the tissue paper to clean any finger print. The spectrophotometer was programmed and adjusted to zero with the other 10ml sample cell (blank). The 10ml (prepared sample) was put into the cell hole and read was pressed to record total iron as Fe- in mg/l (see Plate 4).

1.5.6.5 Total hardnessAccording to Todd (2008), physically, hardness could be defined as the ability of water to lather with soap. The method used for measuring total hardness was EDTA Titrimeteric method. The reagents and apparatus used were Buffer solution, Eriochrome Black T, Standard EDTA Titrant, 0.01M, 50ml measuring cylinder, Automatic burette, 600ml volumetric flask and Ref; Standard Methods 19th Edition pages 2-35, 2-36. The water samples were analyzed based on the following procedure. 50ml of the sample was measured and poured into 600ml volumetric flask. 2 drops of buffer solution was added to sample and shaken to mix. Few of the Eriochrome Black Tar indicator was added and shook to mix. Titrate against 0.01M EDTA solution, mixed gently until the color changed from wine to blue. The titre value Tv was recorded and the concentration was computed using the formula;
Total Hardness as mg/l CaCO3= A*B*100 , where;
Sample volume
A= titre value for sample
B= ml CaCO3 equivalent of EDTA.

1.5.6.6ChlorideOne of the most vital parameters in determining water quality is chloride and a concentration with high chloride shows higher degree of organic contamination (Yogendra and Puttaiah, 2008). All types of raw and natural water have chlorides. Chlorides come about due to industrial activities, agricultural activities and chloride stones (Dohare et al., 2014). Chloride was analyzed using the Argetometeric method. The reagents and apparatus used in measuring was Potassium chromate indicator solution, standard silver nitrate, 0.0141 M, 50ml measuring cylinder, Automatic burette, 600ml volumetric flask and Ref; Standard Methods 23rd Edition pages 4-75. The procedure used is as follows; 50ml of the sample was measured and poured into 600ml volumetric flask. 1ml of Potassium chromate indicator Solution was added to the sample and shook to mix. Titrate against 0.0141 Standard silver nitrate solution and mixed gently until the color changed from yellow to reddish brown. The titre value Tv was recorded and the concentration was computed using the formula;
Chloride as mg/l Cl- = A*B*100 , where;
Sample volume
A= titre value for sample
B= ml CaCO3 equivalent of AgNO3 -.

1.5.6.7 FluorideFluoride occurs naturally in rocks and soil. High concentration of fluoride can be found in some areas. Fluoride is important in dental health, thus small quantities of fluoride is usually added to drinking water by water systems. Nevertheless, extreme consumption of fluoride can destroy the bone tissue (Karak, 2017). Fluoride was determined using SPADNS method, Ref: DR 2000, spectrophotometer, Handbook and Method 8029. The reagents and apparatus used were spectrophotometer, 10ml sample cell / cuvette, tissue paper, SPADNS reagent, 1ml pipette and 10ml pipette. For fluoride determination, sample was shaken very well and one 10ml sample cell/cuvette was filled with the sample. Another 10ml sample cell/ cuvette was filled with distilled water (blank). 1ml SPADNS reagent was added to both of the 10ml sample cell/ cuvette and swirled to mix for 1minute. Both sample cells/ cuvette were wiped with a rag to absorb any water and also with the tissue paper to clean any finger print. The spectrophotometer was programmed and zeroed with the other 10ml sample cell/ cuvette of the distilled water (blank). The other 10ml (prepared sample) was put into the cell hole and read was pressed to record Fluoride as F- in mg/l (see Plate 5).

1.5.6.8 ArsenicArsenic is found naturally in hard rocks and soil, air, water, animals and plants. Arsenic occurs naturally in mineral and thermal waters which reach the surface of the earth either by geothermal exploitation or natural discharge in springs and this may have an impact on the environment if not treated. In addition, it may be discharged into the environment by natural sources like forest fires, erosion of rocks and volcanic action (DMA, 2014). The method used to measure arsenic was the EZ Arsenic test kit. The reagents and apparatus used were EZ Arsenic Reagent Set, reaction bottle, cap and test strip. Test strip was inserted into the cap so that the cap completely covered the small opening. The flap was closed and pressed to secure. The reaction bottle was filled with sample to the line (50ml). One Reagent # 1 and one Reagent # 2 powder pillow was added to the sample. Immediately, the cap was attached to the reaction bottle and swirled continuously for 60seconds. During the reaction period, it was swirled twice. The sample was left for 20 minutes and after which the test strip was removed and immediately the developed colour was compared to the chart on the test trip bottle and the strips in the shade was recorded (see Plate 6).

1.5.6.9 Feacal and total coliformsTotal coliform bacteria are also known as indicator organisms which implies that their presence give an indication that, other disease causing organisms may be found in the water body (Palamuleni and Akoth, 2015).Faecal indicator bacteria are key parameters for determining microbial quality (Nyarko, 2008).

Biological water parameters are used to explain the presence of water-borne pathogens and microbiological organisms. Water-borne pathogens and microorganisms usually get into lakes and rivers when they are contaminated by human waste. Faecal coliforms are ejected from the bodies of warm-blooded animals like humans, cats, dogs and other wildlife. The probability for bacterial contamination of water is normally assessed by the concentration of total and faecal coliforms, enterococci or Escherichia coli which is generally introduced to water sources by the release of partially treated or untreated sewage. Contamination of groundwater by pathogens and bacteria is dependent on the soil properties, the absorption capability of the soil, the ability of the soil to physically strain the pathogens and the pathogen survival. Bacteria and viruses can move through a media such as soil and transported into aquifers by seeping underground (Unice and Logan, 2000).

Both faecal and total coliforms were determined using Pour Plate Method, Standard Methods, 23rd edition and Method 9215 B. The reagents and apparatus used in determining faecal and total coliform are Slanetz and Barltey Medium, Petri Dish, forceps, colony counter, incubator and 1ml micro pipette. For faecal coliform, petri dishes were arranged on a bench according to the number of samples taken. 1ml sample was picked with a sterilized pipette. The cover of petri dish was lifted high enough to insert pipette. A 42g plate count Slanetz and Bartley medium were melted in 1L distilled water, boiled and cooled to420C. The cover was lifted high again to pour the agar into the dish. The plate was rotated for uniform mixing and inverted into the incubator at 350C. It was inspected in the next 24 hours. The wine colonies were recorded as faecal coliform.

For total coliform, petri dishes were arranged on a bench according to the number of samples taken. 1ml sample was picked with a sterilized pipette. The cover of the petri dish was lifted high enough to insert pipette. A 20.5g plate count agar medium was melted in 1L warm distilled water, boiled and cooled to 420C. The cover was lifted high again to pour the agar into the dish. The plate was rotated for uniform mixing and inverted into the incubator at 370C. It was inspected in the next 24 hours. The red metallic sheen colonies were recorded as total coliform (see Plate 7).

1.6 SCOPE OF STUDYGeographically, the study was carried out in the Talensi district and was focused on Winkongo, Tongo and Gbanda-Yale which are all communities within the Talensi district in the Upper East Region of Ghana and Tongo as the district capital. The study focused on the groundwater and was conducted purposely to assess the quality of the water in the above mentioned communities. These communities were selected to analyze the quality of groundwater due to people perceiving the water to be safe for drinking and free from contamination. Hence, the study was limited to borehole areas. The communities were also selected to find out the impacts of contaminated groundwater on the lives and activities of people.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDYThe study is organized under four chapters. Chapter one of the study presents a background to the study, problem statement, the research objectives, justification, research methodology and scope of study.

Chapter two reviews related literature on the concept of groundwater, groundwater occurrence, and groundwaterquality. The chapter also covers groundwater contamination, its effects on humans and profile of the study area as well as the profile of the study area.

Chapter three presents an in-depth data analysis, findings and discussion of results.

Chapter four concludes the study with the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation.

CHAPTER TWOLITERATURE REVIEW AND PROFILE OF THE STUDY AREA2.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter reviews related literature relevant to the study. The themes reviewed are groundwater, groundwater occurrence, groundwater quality, groundwater quality in the Talensi district, water quality parameters; physical parameters of water quality, chemical parameters of water quality and biological parameters of water quality, groundwater contamination and sources of groundwater contamination.

2.2 GROUND WATERGroundwater is water that is found beneath the surface of the earth in conditions of 100 percent saturation (National Groundwater Association, 2012). Groundwater is water found beneath the surface of the ground in pore spaces in soil and in the cracks of lithologic formation (Anonymous, 2009). Thus, groundwater is water that exists below the earth’s surface in cracks and spaces in rock, soil and sand. About 98% of fresh water on the planet makes up groundwater. It makes up a third of our total water usage, even though this varies from place to place (National Groundwater Association, 2012). It is an important natural resource with balanced concentration of salt for human usage (Tewari et al., 2010). Nevertheless, groundwater is not only an important natural resource for water supply, but also a vital component of the global water cycle and the environment. Groundwater is extensively used for drinking and irrigation purposes in the production of food (UNESCO, 2004). Thus, water found beneath the earth is essential and a vital component of human existence. In Ghana, 62 to 67% of the population rely on groundwater (GEMS Water Project, 1997) and most towns and cities have challenges with the quality of the water used in work places and towns (Nkansah et al., 2010). This implies that groundwater as a natural resource has an effect on the health and wellbeing of many people worldwide. In addition, about 56% of the total population in rural communities in Ghana depends on groundwater as the major source of drinking water (Ghana Statistical Service, 2002).
Water below the earth’s surface exists in two zones; the saturated zone and the unsaturated zone. In the saturated zone (Figure 1), the pores in the soil or rock are filled with water. The upper layer of bedrock in the saturated zone contains numerous water- filled crevices. Deeper bedrock layers may have few or no crevices where water can penetrate (United States Geological Survey, 1999).
Figure 1: Water in the ground.

Source: USGS, 2013.

Water table is the boundary between the unsaturated zone above the water table and the saturated zone below the water table. The top of the groundwater is the water table (Figure 2.1). Beneath the water table, the pressure of the water is extensive enough to enable water to enter wells, thus allowing water from the ground to be extracted for use (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2013). The water table rises and falls according to the season of the year and the amount of rain or snow that occurs. In dry seasons, the depth to the water table is higher and in wet seasons, the depth to the water table is lower. Nevertheless, drought or heavy rainfall conditions may cause changes in the pattern. Usually closer to permanent surface water bodies like rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands, the depth to the water table is small (Winter et al., 1998).

In the unsaturated zone (Figure 2.1), the pores in the soil contain both water and air. Water seeps downward through the unsaturated zone to the water table beneath. Wells in this zone cannot have water because plant roots can capture the moisture passing through the unsaturated zone (United States Geological Survey, 1999).
2.3 GROUND WATER OCCURRENCEBeneath the earth’s surface, groundwater occurs everywhere and in almost all types of geological formations yet, its distribution varies from one place to another in terms of quantity and quality (Fetter, 1994). More than half of all groundwater is often limited to depths of about 750meters (Nelson, 2015). Nevertheless, it is evident that groundwater can also be found at a depth of more than 11000meters and an example is the Kola Peninsula of Russia (Tiwari, n.d).

Groundwater occupies the void spaces of rock, soil or sediment, completely filling the voids. It recharges from precipitation, which is either snowmelt or rain that seeps into the ground. The movement of groundwater depends on the size of the spaces in the rock or soil and how the spaces are well connected. This influence can be classified as porosity and permeability by hydrologists (Abalori, 2014).

The total volume of open spaces within a pile of marbles occupied by groundwater is termed as porosity. Porosity describes the amount of water that sediment or a rock can contain as shown in figure 2. Porosity in sediments depends on grain sizes, shapes of grains, degree of cementation and degree of sorting. Porosity tends to be higher in well-rounded coarse-grained sediments than fine-grained sediments because the grains do not fit together. It is lower in poorly sorted sediments where the fine-grained sediments tend to fill in the pore space. For instance, highly cemented sediments have lower porosity since cements fill in the pore space (Nelson, 2015).

Figure 2: Porosity in coarse-grained and fine-grainedSource: Nelson (2015).

Permeability is the ability of a rock or soil to allow fluids pass through it. It is dependent on the size of the pore spaces and measures the degree to which the pore spaces are connected (Abalori, 2014). Grain shape, grain packing and cementation influence permeability. An aquifer is a large permeable material where groundwater exists and fills all pore spaces. Good aquifers are produced from high permeable materials such as gravel, highly fractured rock or poorly cemented sands. Larger aquifers can be perfect sources of water for human consumption for example the high plains aquifer (Nelson, 2015).

2.4 GROUNDWATER QUALITYGroundwater does not necessarily demand treatment because it is protected naturally from contaminations; however elevated iron, arsenic and fluoride concentrations can be an issue in some environments (Edmunds and Smedley 2005). Different studies on fluoride has shown that groundwater in some parts of Ghana have high fluoride content. For instance areas recorded to have high fluoride content in groundwater is the Bongo District in the Upper East Region of Ghana mostly in the Bongo granite (Apambire et al., 1997).
However, water is important to the health of the environment and to the life of humans (W.H.O, 2017). The quality of public health relies to a larger extent on the quality of groundwater (Ranjana, 2010).The quality of groundwater varies from place to place due to different lithology, depth and climate (British Geological Survey, 2004). Groundwater is an emerging worry in the developing world (UNICEF, 2013) and drinking water sources are continuously under menace from contamination. This has some socio-economic implications in addition to public health effects (UNICEF, 2013). Water quality defines the condition of water, including physical, chemical and biological features; with respect to its suitability for a particular purpose (Florida Key National Marine Sanctuaries, 2017). An environment in which water quality supports a rich and varied group of organisms and protects public health is a healthy environment (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). Thus, the way in which communities use water for activities such as drinking or commercial purposes is influenced by the quality of the water (Fetter, 1994).

Water resources are of major social, economic and environmental value and if water quality deteriorates, this resource will lose its value. If not maintained, not just the environment will suffer but the commercial importance of our water resources will decline. Poor water quality can have significant impact on the health of ecosystems and poor water quality can have an impact on the health of people as well (NSW Environment and Heritage, 2017).

Urbanization influences the quality and quantity of groundwater through establishing new extraction methods and radically changing patterns and rates of recharge (Foster et al., 1998). Increasing urban population and communities has led to an increase in human activities in some parts of the country which is affecting the quality of groundwater especially shallow groundwater. This implies that changes to the natural sources and paths of infiltration can influence recharge trends through any alteration on the earth’s surface which makes the surface of the land more resistant to water. For instance, groundwater resources in Ghana are under growing pressure due to high population growth associated with the creation of human settlements lacking good water supply (Anim et al., 2011). Groundwater quality defines the state of water found below the earth’s surface. Groundwater contains constituents that are more organic and unseen soluble minerals in different concentrations. However, most are good but some are harmful and a few may be toxic. Groundwater is perceived to be much cleaner and safer for domestic purposes than surface water (Patil and Patil, 2010). According to Fetter (1994), natural water resources are never clean and contain some level of solids, suspended materials and dissolved gases. However, many factors such as land use practice, geological formation, infiltration, discharge of domestic and industrial wastes and rainfall patterns are documented to affect groundwater quality (Suresh and Kottureshwara, 2009).
Water quality parameters are used to determine the levels of contaminants in water resources, monitor changes in water quality and indicate whether water is good for human usage and the health of the environment (NSW Environment and Heritage, 2017).

2.5 GROUNDWATER QUALITY IN TALENSI DISTRICTOne of the earth’s most important resources that are involved and extremely linked to life is water. It is one of the most important resources of life. Even though water is important for human survival, many do not have adequate safe drinking water supply and adequate water to sustain basic hygiene (Abanyie et al., 2016). It is approximated that 1.8 billion people utilize a source of drinking water that is faecally contaminated (W.H.O, 2004). Greater number of these is found in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (W.H.O, 2000). Irregularity of safe water supply to the population has led to people drinking water from hand-dug wells and other sources including streams (Mustapha and Yusuf, 1999).The supply of public water in the Talensi district is inadequate and as a result, most depend on the use of boreholes and hand-dug wells for their domestic purposes. The quality of water resources in the Talensi district is dependent on three major factors: chemical composition of the parent rocks existing in the area, extent of agricultural activities and the disposal of human sewage especially in rural areas. Mostly, both groundwater and surface water are justifiable for human usage. Yet, due to increased agricultural activities and mining activities, there has been much degradation of water resources (Adugbire et al., 2010). Groundwater is more mineralized in alluvial aquifers than in weathered basement aquifers. As such, the utilization of groundwater in such areas is limited due to high content of iron, fluoride, nitrates and total dissolved solids (Kundell, 2008).

In Ghana, fluoride occurs as a natural contaminant in some groundwater while the availability of high amount of arsenic and nitrate in groundwater is caused by anthropogenic activities such as waste disposal, poor sanitation and mining activities (Apambire, 2001). High fluoride of about 1.5 mg/L has been observed in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. In addition, it was revealed that a mean fluoride of 1.88 mg/L is contained in the Bongo granite which is exceptionally higher than the W.H.O (1984) drinking water standard value of 1.5 mg/L. This means that within the area, there could be a possible chance of health associated issues. Some concerns have been raised due to the high fluoride content found in groundwater in the area. Such concerns are high dental fluorosis also known as brown weak teeth. Some boreholes have also been capped restricting users from utilizing the water (Smedley et al., 1995).

Kubreziga (2012) also reported that three out of seven unrestricted drinking water sources in the Upper East Region contain nitrate-nitrogen which is above the W.H.O standard for drinking levels of 10 mg/L and that about one out of every 12 children in the region stands the chance of being exposed to blue-baby syndrome, a dangerous state in children as a result of nitrate contamination in groundwater due to water gotten from unrestricted sources.

Minor saline groundwater has been noted to exist in isolated boreholes in rocks of the Voltaian basin. Salinity is usually linked to high sulphate concentrations (Pelig-Ba, 1998). Excess fluoride and iodine deficiency have been considered as the most serious direct health problems associated to drinking water which have been observed in some areas of the Upper Regions of northern Ghana (British Geological Survey, 2000).Cobbina et al (2015)reported arsenic range of 0.031to 0.002 mg/l in the Tinga areas in the Talensi district. High fluoride concentrations have been documented in some aquifers. Cobbina et al (2013) also reported a chloride range of 8 to 113 mg/l, arsenic ranged 0.001 to 0.009 mg/l for groundwater from boreholes in Datuku in the Talensi district. Their data showed that, concentrations of nitrate, cadmium, total iron, turbidity and manganese were higher than the WHO guideline values for drinking water quality.

Entsua-Mensah et al. (2007) also documented that there are problems of high fluoride and iron contents in some parts of Ghana including Upper East, Western and Northern regions.

2.6 WATER QUALITY PARAMETERSIt is very important and necessary to test water before it is used for domestic purposes or industrial purposes. Different water quality parameters are used to test water. Choosing parameters for water testing is solely dependent on what purpose the water will be used for and what extent we need its purity and quality (Tiwari, 2015). In order to assess the quality of water, three parameters are analyzed; physical, chemical and biological. The quality of groundwater is dependent on the concentration of physical, chemical and biological contaminants (Musa et al., 1999).These water quality parameters analyses are vital for pollution studies and public health (Kot et al., 2000).

2.6.1 Physical Water Quality ParametersThe most important physical parameters of groundwater in connection to its quality are turbidity, color, odor, temperature and total dissolved solids (Likambo, 2014). Most of these parameters have no direct health risk, but they can influence other factors. For instance soil particles in turbid water can shelter bacteria and sometimes make water unpleasant to drink (Likambo, 2014).

2.6.2 Chemical Water Quality ParametersWater naturally contains many chemicals such as pH, dissolved oxygen, heavy metals, total hardness, fluoride, calcium and other factors of which most have no health risks. However, a few chemicals do have health implications on humans especially on children when contaminated water is consumed. For instance, when fluoride is present in drinking water at a concentration of about 1 mg/L, it helps prevent dental cavities. However, exposure to high levels of fluoride, which occurs naturally, can lead to mottling of teeth and in severe cases, crippling skeletal fluorosis (W.H.O, 2006).
2.6.3 Biological Water Quality ParametersBiological water parameters are used to explain bacterial contamination in water samples. Improper and open defecation around catchment areas of groundwater can increase the faecal coliforms found in the water through runoffs (Abalori, 2014).The probability for bacterial contamination of water is normally measured by the concentration of total and faecal coliforms, enterococci or Escherichia coli which is generally introduced to water sources by the release of partially treated or untreated sewage. Micro-organisms like E-coli, total and fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci are used to show the likelihood of sewage pollution in water. When coliform bacteria are higher in concentration, there is the possibility of having higher concentration of pathogens in water. Indicator organisms are used instead of pathogens due to difficulty to diagnose pathogens (Kunene River Awareness Kit, n.d).

2.7 GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATIONGroundwater in most cases is believed to be safer and more dependable for use than surface water since surface water is more exposed to pollutants (Patil and Patil, 2010). However, continuous discharging of industrial wastes, dumping of solid waste and human sewage causes groundwater to become contaminated (Raja et al., 2002). Despite the fact that groundwater is not as vulnerable as surface water does not imply that it is invulnerable to contamination. Contaminants can still reach groundwater and hence households. Groundwater contamination has become a crucial issue of public concern (Ashfaq and Ahmed, 2014). Groundwater is contaminated in numerous ways and can be contaminated either naturally such as certain aquifers having high concentrations of natural dissolved minerals like fluoride, arsenic and boron or through human activities such as sewage disposal, intensively cultivated fields, solid and liquid wastes from industries (British Geological Survey, 2004). Groundwater is unsafe in areas where population density is high and land use is intensive. Essentially any activity whereby wastes or chemicals may be released to the environment either accidentally or intentionally has the possibility to contaminate groundwater. It is usually expensive and difficult to treat groundwater once it becomes contaminated (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2015).

Groundwater contamination is defined as the introduction of any undesirable chemical, physical or microbiological material into the groundwater (Metzger, 2005). It occurs when contaminants are released to the ground and the contaminants find their way down into groundwater. Groundwater and contaminants can move rapidly through cracks in rocks. Contaminants can also flow into groundwater through macro pores like abandoned wells, root systems, cracks that supply pathways for contaminants and other systems of holes (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2015). The usefulness of water for drinking and domestic use, agriculture and industry is determined by the chemical components of the groundwater (Fetter, 1994). The most susceptible to contamination are shallow and permeable water table aquifers but susceptibility of aquifers to contamination depends on factors like depth of a well, geological and soil formations, amount of precipitation which influences recharge and the speed at which contaminants flow downward, the ability of a certain contaminant to decompose and evapotranspiration which may reduce the amount of water that flows downward in recharge areas to the aquifer (Disaster Mitigation Act, 2000).

Some contaminants like nitrates and phosphorus found in groundwater are beneficial to human health and support ecosystems but it becomes problematic when there is an excess amount of contaminants in the groundwater hence causing severe effects on human health and the environment (Texas Water Development Board, 2002).

2.7.1 Sources of Groundwater ContaminationGroundwater can be contaminated in various ways and have many contaminants (Fetter, 1994). Contaminants can be released into the environment as dissolved substances, gases or in a form of particulate. Sometimes contaminants get into the environment through various channels such as the soil and atmosphere (UNESCO, 1996).Landfills, improper disposal of wastes, fertilizers, pesticides and faulty septic tanks are some common sources of groundwater contamination and the most common source is runoff from rain that percolates through the earth below a landfill or carries along fertilizers and pesticides from agricultural lands. Thus contaminants on the land’s surface can move through the soil and end up in the groundwater. Septic systems in homes are also a key source of contamination (FilterWater.com, 2014). The diagram (figure 3) shows the various sources groundwater can be contaminated.

Figure 3: Sources of groundwater contamination.

Source: Filterwater.com (2014).

Contamination of groundwater comes about when chemicals and human man products find their way into the groundwater and thereby rendering it unfit and unsafe for human consumption. From Figure 3, it can be observed that materials such as fertilizers and pesticides from the land’s surface move via the soil and confine in the groundwater. Runoff seeps into the ground and finally gets to the aquifer system. Also, it is likely for leaky landfills and waste from septic tank underground contaminating groundwater.

2.8 WATER AND HEALTHThe provision of public water in the Talensi district (the study area) is inadequate, due to this, many depend on the use of boreholes and hand-dug wells for their household purposes and it is also a bit common to see boreholes and wells located near contamination sources. Contamination of groundwater through anthropogenic activities causing change in land cover and its use poses health risks to people living in the communities as well as those who depend on groundwater for livelihood activities.
A research conducted in the Talensi district by Adugbire et al. (2010), showed that contaminated borehole water has some health implications on users. The disclosure of boreholes and wells to sources of contamination can generate health problems like water-borne diseases which consist of skin diseases, diarrhoea, intestinal worm, typhoid, enteric fevers, acute eye infection and joint pains on borehole users. Research by Smedley et al. (1995), also showed that there could be possible chance of health associated issues like colored teeth, high dental fluorosis (brown weak teeth) emanating from use of water with high fluoride content. Hence there is a need for the provision of good and sufficient water in order to reduce the prevalence of water-related diseases.

2.9 PROFILE OF THE STUDY AREA2.9.1 LocationThe study area, Talensi District is found in the Upper East Region. The Talensi district was part of the Talensi-Nabdam district in the Upper East Region. The Talensi district was separated from the Nabdam district in 2012 by Legislative Instrument (L.I) 2110 with Tongo as the administrative capital. The district is located in the North-eastern part of the Upper East Region. It lies between latitudes 10015′ and 10060′ North of the equator and longitudes 0031′ and1005’West of the Greenwich Meridian. The district shares boundaries to the North with the Nabdam district, to the East with Bawku West, West with Bolgatanga Municipal, South East and South West with East Mamprusi and West Mamprusi districts respectively as shown in Figure 4. The district has a total land area of about 838.4km2(Ghana Statistical Service, 2014).

2.9.2 Climatic ConditionsThe district falls in the Guinea Savannah ecological zone and experiences two seasons; rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season is unpredictable and runs from May to October. This season is important as most of the people in the district are farmers who rely greatly on rainfall for their agricultural produce. The dry season stretches from October to April. The mean annual rainfall is950mm and ranges from 88mm-110mm. The area experiences a maximum temperature of 45 degrees Celsius in March and April and a minimum of 120 degrees Celsius in December (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014).

Figure 4: Map of Talensi District-365760133350
Source: Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), 2014.

2.9.3 Soil and DrainageThe district is characterized by scattered rock-outcrops and upland slopes with generally undulating lowlands with gentle slopes ranging from 1 degree to 5 degrees gradient at the Tongo areas. The soil in the district is developed from granite rocks. The soil is weak with low organic matter content, low in soil fertility and predominantly coarse in texture. Erosion is a problem in the district. The main river in the district is the White Volta and its tributaries (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014).

2.9.4 VegetationThe district comes mainly under the Guinea Savannah woodland type of vegetation comprising sparse short deciduous trees and ground flora of grass. The vegetation cover has been affected by human activities which invariably has affected the quality of the soil. Common trees of economic value found in the district are the shea, baobab, dawadawa and acacia. The main crops grown during the rainy season by farmers are legumes, cereals, vegetables and tubers (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014).

2.9.5 Geological FormationThe district is underlain byDahomeyan formation, Birrimian sediments, Birrimian volcanic, basal sandstone and Tarkwain formation. The Zalerigu area is largely underlain by Birrimian volcanic, which consists of metamorphosed lava, pyroclastic rocks, hypabyssal basic intrusive, phyllite and greywacke. Lixosols and plinthosols are the dominant soil types. Plinthosols contain high levels of iron while lixosols are rich in clay. These soils occur either on plains or plateaus and reflect the weathering of predominantly basic rocks. The features of aquifers are very variable due to the changing intensity of weathering and the anisotropic nature of fractures. Rainfall is the main source of recharge to the aquifers. The approximated recharge values are usually low ranging from 1.5% to 19% of annual rainfall (Obuobie et al., 2016). These rocks are intruded by granite. Groundwater storage and flow in the district are controlled by the thickness of the overburden, the degree of decomposition and the type and intensity of fracturing (Apambire, 1996). Boreholes in the district are usually found in faults and fractures mainly located within phyllites, schist, quartz veins and decomposed granites with their depths between 18 and 50m (Adugbire et al., 2010).

2.9.6 Water SupplyWater resources are under siege as the world’s population continues to grow. According to the World Bank, as of 2011, 1.1 billion people lacked access to good drinking water (Ghana Web, 2011). Access to safe drinking water is a problem in the Talensi district (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014). The water supply system in the district can be classified basically as rural, comprising of hand dug wells, boreholes and other natural water sources like ponds, dug out, dams and rivers. Most of the communities rely on them for their livelihoods despite those sources are not of quality. The key source of potable water for most communities in the district is boreholes. These boreholes were constructed by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) and the Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation (GW&SC). Attempts have been made to improve the supply of water in some of the villages by the Small Town Water System (STWS) with some NGOs assistance. Most communities have been provided with more sunk wells fitted with pumps by NGOs especially Rural Aid and ADRA, also there are traditional wells sunk by landlords for usage by their households yet most of these hand dug wells are not protected to prevent contamination. Nevertheless, they serve as a very significant source of water supply to many communities in the district and fill the water shortage gap (Adugbire et al., 2010).

In the Talensi district, some areas have distinct water problems where it is nearly impossible to construct dams or even to strike groundwater. An example is Pwalugu where some unproductive attempts have been made to supply communities with safe water. This has emanated into a great number of people drinking water from untreated sources (Adugbire et al., 2010). This situation is also common in the Sakoti and Nabdam areas. Some areas are classified with high fluoride content, especially the Wakii area where some good yielding water points have been capped and cannot be developed due to the high fluoride content (Ghana Districts.com).
2.9.7 Groundwater AvailabilityThe world is facing a water crisis and it is significant that there is not adequate potable water available to meet the needs of today’s population. In Africa, access to adequate good quality drinking water supplies continue to be limited among many urban and rural communities in spite ofa number of years of water improvement programmes (Mireille et al., 2011). Groundwater occurrence depends on three factors; climate, hydraulic properties of the geological formations and geological framework (Freeze and Cherry, 1979). Groundwater flow in the Upper East Region is usually restricted to fractures and joints within the crystalline rock formations. Hence, borehole yields are often limited. In some areas,a thick layer of weathered friable material overlies the crystalline basement and provides potential for increased groundwater storage. The weathered layer can be in excess of 100m thick in some areas even though is most typically in thickness of 1-70m (Asomaning, 1992). Climate change also alters the water cycle starting from evaporation, precipitation, runoff, groundwater to recharge, decreasing seasonal rainfall trends (Akpodiogaga and Odjugo, 2010). Due to the unimodal pattern of rainfall in the district, surface water usually dry up in the dry season resulting in water scarcity in the district. Thus, water supply is dominantly from boreholes and dug wells (British Geological Survey, 2000).

2.9.8 Groundwater UtilizationMore than 1.5 billion people worldwide rely on groundwater for drinking purposes and 98% of the world’s water is stored in aquifers that are usable by humans (W.H.O, 2000). Water is used at the household level purposely for drinking, sanitation and hygiene. Groundwater has been used as a pivot for development in the developed world (Van Koppen et al., 2006).In Ghana, the purpose of groundwater use is largely determined by the quality of groundwater available, its quantity and the unavailability of other options. Groundwater is mostly used for domestic purposes mainly for drinking. It serves as the most cost effective potable water supply for most rural communities and some urban centers (Kortatsi, 1994).

In the Talensi district, groundwater is used for many purposes; domestic water supply, which includes livestock watering and industrial purpose, and irrigation of crops. Groundwater for domestic water supply is abstracted from boreholes whereas groundwater for irrigation is abstracted through hand-dug wells. For example about 73% of groundwater abstracted in Zalerigu, a community in the district is used for domestic water supply including industry and livestock watering (Obuobie et al., 2013).

In general, both surface and groundwater are sources of water supply for drinking, as far as the sources are not contaminated and the water is well treated. Groundwater quality as well as its quantity is important. Hence, monitoring and assessing the quality of groundwater is vital to ensure its suitability for use.

CHAPTER THREEAN ASSESSMENT OF GROUNDWATER QUALITY AND PEOPLES’ PERCEPTIONS OF ITS USAGE IN THE TALENSI DISTRICT3.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter discusses the results and presentation of information gathered from the water tested at the laboratory to help address the research objectives. It comprises discussions on level of contaminants in the groundwater in the study communities, pathways contaminants reach groundwater, indigenous knowledge and perceptions on groundwater quality and health implication of contaminated groundwater on the lives of the people.

3.2 LEVEL OF CONTAMINANTS IN GROUNDWATERThe assessment of groundwater quality was carried out in the study communities to determine the level of contaminants in the water samples from selected boreholes in terms of usage. The suitability of drinking water is usually based on the recommended values for some parameters outlined in the W.H.O guidelines for drinking water.

3.2.1 Physical ParametersThe physical parameters analyzed at the study areas were turbidity, colour and nitrate
3.2.1.1 TurbidityThe turbidity levels in the groundwater samples showed wide variations ranging from 1.0 to 63.0 NTU as shown in Table 2. All the water samples analysed were within the W.H.O guidelines with the exception of water sample from the East, Gbanda-Yale (G3) recording turbidity value of 63 NTU. The lowest and highest values for groundwater were found at G1, T4, W1 and G3. The high level of turbidity present in borehole G3 could be due to mineral matter from the disintegration of rocks from the Dahomeyan formation. The area is underlain by Dahomeyan formation which consists of decomposed granites. This affirms the claim made by Cobbina et al. (2013) that the high turbidity counts in water samples are an indicator of weathering of rocks. The turbid nature of the water could also be attributed to contamination in groundwater by underground clay. Turbidity can impede disinfection and supply a medium for microbial growth. Greater amount of turbid water is sometimes connected with the likelihood of micro-biological contamination which makes it difficult to decontaminate water properly due to high turbidity (DWAF, 1998).Turbidity can result from sediments washed into water bodies during rainstorms (USGS, 2016).Respondents from Gbanda-Yale reported that their water turns milky in the rainy season. About 13% of the respondents were of the view that possible contamination by undesirable materials turned water milky in the rainy season. Also 37% of the respondents said the milky colour of the water from this sampling point may be as a result of likely clay contamination underground causing the water to be milky in colour. Although turbidity may not be an indicator of health risk, the greater the turbidity concentration in drinking water, the greater the risk that people may develop gastrointestinal diseases (USGS, 2016). Turbidity-causing materials can generate odour and taste problems in water (Abanyie et al., 2016). This was observed from the taste of borehole G3. When water is milky it indicates that the water is turbid and not good for drinking (Minnesto Pollution Control Agency, 2008).

3.2.1.2 ColourThe colour of the water samples analysed ranged from 1.5 to 28.6 HU. The minimum value was recorded at W3 whiles the maximum value was recorded at G3. The colours of all the water samples were within the permissible limits recommended by the W.H.O except one sample whose appearance was more than the maximum limit of 15 HU. The water sample whose colour did not fall within the W.H.O range was the water sample from the sampling point G3 which is located at the Gbanda-Yale community.
Table 2: The level of contaminants in the groundwater samples for the three communities.PARAMETER UNIT W.H.O GUIDELINES G1 G2 G3 G4 T1 T2 T3 T4 W1 W2 W3 W4 W4
Turbidity NTU 0-5 1 0 63 0 5 0 0 1 1 0 4 0 0
ColourHU 0-15 0 0 28 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.5 0 0
Nitrate mg/l 0-10 1.5 3.8 26 2 5.3 9 6.3 6.3 4.8 8.5 7.3 4.3 4.3
Total iron mg/l 0-1.0 0 0 0.6 0.02 0.09 0.20 0.11 0.11 0.06 0.19 0.13 0.05 Total hardness mg/l 100-300 46 45 20 34 24 19 20 32 16 25 20 20 Chloride mg/l 0-250 12 16 17 22 33 33 25 40 27 32 26 29 Fluoride mg/l 0-1.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.15 0.42 0 0 0 0 Aresnicmg/l 0-0.01 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 Total coliform cfu/1ml 0 0 19 54 2 0 19 14 2 0 0 19 13 Faecal coliform cfu/1ml 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6 3 Source: Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, 2018.

Results from the study communities indicated that 25% of the respondents said their water turned brown in the dry season and 13% of the respondents suggested that equipment corrosion was responsible for the brown colour in borehole water. The water sample from this borehole was brown in colour which may be as a result of some particulate matter rising from the rocks underground. Flooding occurring at areas closer to boreholes has been noted to deposit clay and silt into boreholes, hence affecting the colour of the water from the borehole (McMahon, 2010). The colour of water sample from sampling point G3 at Gbanda-Yale could be as a result of sediments entering the water source and also likely contamination from soil runoff since the borehole had no concrete platform to prevent unwanted substances and sediments carried along during flooding from entering the borehole. The water samples were taken at a time it had not rained so possible cause of the colour may be as a result of iron particles rusting when these come into contact with oxygen in the water. Water from sampling point G3 according to the respondents was used purposely for bathing, washing and for other purposes with the exception of drinking and cooking. Water used for drinking and cooking by respondents in this area was from a different borehole that is borehole G2 whose water colour was clear and satisfactory.
3.2.1.3 NitrateAll the water samples tested had traces of nitrate contamination. The level of nitrate in groundwater samples ranged from 1.5 to as high as 26.3 mg/l. The minimum value was recorded at G1 whiles the maximum value was recorded at G3. Concentration of nitrate found in the water samples were within the W.H.O range of 0-10 mg/l for drinking water except a sample from sampling point G3 found in Gbanda-Yale at the East of the Talensi district map whose nitrate value recorded the highest concentration of 26.3 mg/l therefore making the water not good for drinking. Nitrate concentration of more than 3 mg/l shows a moderately high relationship of water with contamination sources (USGS, 2012).This could be due to the oxidation of ammonia form of nitrogen from human and animal wastes into nitrite which has entered into the aquifer of the groundwater (Palamuleni and Akoth, 2015). Sources of nitrate are runoff from fertilised agricultural lands septic tanks, refuse dump and animal feedstuffs (W.H.O 2006). The major source of nitrate contamination in groundwater in the study communities was from the actions of farmers. Majority of the people were farmers and the application of nitrogen fertilizers was high since some of the farm lands in the communities had become infertile. This is common in the rainy season where farmers apply fertilizers on their fields. According to the W.H.O (2004), an important concern related to high concentrations of nitrate and nitrite in drinking water is the formation of methaemoglobinaemia also known as ‘blue-baby syndrome in infants. Methaemoglobinaemia occurs when blood loses its ability to carry enough oxygen (Greon et al., 1988). Drinking water containing extreme nitrate in it can cause a lot of health problems like gastric cancer, goitre, hypertension and birth malformations (Majumdar and Gupta, 2000). Carcinogenic diseases may also be caused by repeated doses of nitrates on ingestion (Palamuleni and Akoth, 2015).

3.2.2 Chemical ParametersThe chemical parameters analyzed in the study areas were total iron, total hardness, chloride, fluoride and arsenic content of the sampled water.

3.2.2.1 Total ironThe total iron from all the water samples ranged from 0.02 to 0.19 mg/l. The minimum value was recorded at G4 whiles the maximum value was recorded at W2. The concentration of total iron in all the water samples were within the W.H.O standard for drinking quality of 0-1.0 mg/l. Hence using iron content as an indicator, the water is considered acceptable for human usage. The highest concentration of iron was found in the water sample from borehole G3 which was below the W.H.O guidelines and the lowest from boreholes G1 and G4 thus, the water is good for drinking. Iron found in groundwater may be from natural sources such as corrosive materials, casings and steel pumps (Sebiawu et al., 2014). The concentration of high iron in groundwater may not have any health impact but may not be used by people because of uncomfortable taste and smell that is usually associated with water from underground with very high iron concentrations (Smedley et al., 1995). Iron may occur naturally in some aquifers however its concentration in groundwater can be intensified due to rusting of hand pumps components and dissolution of ferrous boreholes. There is no health-based standard value recommended for iron. Nevertheless, when iron in water is above 0.3 mg/l, it stains plumbing fixtures and laundry by making them brown in colour (W.H.O, 2008). Water from boreholeG3 was used for all purposes; bathing, washing cooking utensils, watering crops, laundry and among others. However, water from borehole G3 was not used for drinking and cooking. Water for drinking and cooking purposes was gotten from boreholes with no brown colour, odour or scent in the community.

3.2.2.2 Total hardnessThe total hardness value for all the water samples analyzed ranged from 16.0 to 46.0 mg/l. The minimum value was recorded at W1 whiles the maximum value was recorded at G1. Measurements of total hardness for all the water samples were below the 300 mg/l recommended by the W.H.O for drinking water quality indicating that all the samples met the W.H.O standard and was good for drinking. Hard water has an adverse effect on users by making the water have an unpleasant taste and reducing its ability to make soap lather. Kidney problems and kidney stone formation are health risk that may result if people use water with hardness of 150-300 mg/l and above (Pawari and Gavande, 2015). Incidence of urolithiosis, anencephaly, some types of cancer and cardiovascular disorders can also be caused by the use of hard water (Subba Rao, 2006).

3.2.2.3 ChlorideThe chloride concentration in all the water samples were lower than the W.H.O maximum permissible limit of 0-2 mg/l. The chloride concentration of the sampled water ranged from 12.0 to 40 mg/l. High chloride levels in water may not have any health impact to users but, high concentration of sodium and chloride ions may come in contact to produce sodium chloride which could give water a salty taste (Ackah et al., 2011). The consumption of water with high chloride levels can result in an increase in hypertension development, ventricular hypertension, osteoporosis, stroke, renal stones and asthma in human beings (Ramesh and Soorya, 2012). All the water samples were within the W.H.O standard therefore the concentration of chloride was satisfactory hence, on the basis of chloride content only, the water is good for drinking.

3.2.2.4 Fluoride and arsenicFluoride, when present in drinking water at a concentration of about 1 mg/L, helps prevent dental cavities. However, exposure to high levels of fluoride, which occurs naturally, can lead to mottling of teeth and in severe cases, crippling skeletal fluorosis (W.H.O, 2006).The consumption of fluoride above the maximum permissible limit in drinking water may result in dental fluorosis and increased bone fracture in children. Also long-term intake of fluoridated water causes increased hip fracture in the elderly (Danielson, 1992).

There was no detectable concentration of arsenic in all water samples collected for testing. Concentrations of fluoride in most of the water samples taken from the study communities was not detectable with the exception of two boreholes thus T3 and T4 found in Tongo which had values ranging from 0.15 to 0.42 mg/l and these values were within the W.H.O standards of 0-1.5 mg/l. According to Smedley et al. (1995), areas where the bedrock composition is predominated by granite, such areas tend to have high fluoride concentration. Yet the results from the study area indicated no detectable values of arsenic and fluoride despite the fact that the geology of the study area is predominated by granite. This finding means that there are no instant effects on the health of the users in the study communities who use this water for drinking but, continuing usage of higher concentrations may cause dental fluorosis.

3.3.3 Microbial Parameters
It is often impossible to test for a wide range of microorganisms that can be present in drinking water (W.H.O, 2011). The microbial water quality parameters tested for are total and faecal coliforms.
Total coliform values for all the water samples from the boreholes ranged from 2 to 54 cfu/1ml with the highest total coliform values occurring at borehole G3 whilst the lowest value reported at borehole G4 all found in Gbanda-Yale.
Some of the water samples had faecal coliforms ranging from 1 to 6 cfu/1ml with the lowest occurring at borehole T3 found in Tongo and the highest at borehole W3 found in Winkongo. The concentrations of these microbial parameters in the water samples are signs of major bacterial contamination. The coliform bacteria may have different originations of which some could be ascribed to contaminated runoff from agriculture, landfills and the closeness of some boreholes to pit latrines as well as poor sanitary completion of boreholes. The environment around water sources could also be a contributory factor to water contamination since water quality is nearly associated to the environment (NSW Environment and Heritage, 2017).In vicinities with poor environmental hygiene, improved water for drinking would have some or no consequences but in vicinities with good environmental hygiene, reducing faecal coliform levels by two orders of magnitude would decrease the prevalence of diarrhoea by 40% (van Derslice and Briscoe, 1995). In the study communities, out of the twelve (12) water samples tested, eight (8) of the water samples analysed were faecally contaminated thus, did not meet the W.H.O standard for drinking water quality. The high concentration of total and faecal coliforms in the water samples from boreholes G2, G3, G4, T2, T3, T4, W3 and W4 was due to open vegetation around the borehole since most of the boreholes were sited on farmlands. Animals were used to graze farmlands and during grazing, animals drop their waste which becomes mixed with the soil and this can leach to the groundwater. Animals normally feed on the crops and in the process defecate around. It was observed that all the sampling points where the water samples were taken had no toilet facilities hence the people practiced the free range system of defecation. The presence of faecal matter in contaminated boreholes makes the water unwholesome and people using this water in the three communities for drinking are at risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases or diarrhoea diseases. Coincidentally, gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhoea diseases were among the most commonly recorded cases at the Winkongo health centre and Talensi district hospital.

Also, it was observed from the survey that animals were permitted to drink freely from the pad of the borehole which collects water on the concrete floor. Respondents reported that during the dry season, the animals on the free range drink water from the pad of the boreholes and in the process they defecate in the pads thus, their faeces could be drained into the water consequently causing high levels of total and faecal coliform build up. This finding validates the submission made by Adugbire et al. (2010), that the concentration of coliforms in water samples are an indicator of poor sanitary state in the area. The high concentration of microbial organisms might have been generated due to unhygienic handling of solid wastes in the community.

During the survey, it was noted that at sampling point G3 at Gbanda–Yale and T3 at Tongo, a school’s toilet facility was found next to the borehole in the area that was on a higher ground than the borehole. Latrines found to be on a high level have the ability of contaminating groundwater. From the survey, about 66% of the respondents said in the rainy season, the water usually has a smell which could be as a result of people defecating near boreholes as well as animals leaving their droppings soaked in the pad of the boreholes in the process of drinking from the pads.

However, the four (4) water samples from boreholes G1 located at Gbanda-Yale, T1 located at Tongo, W1 and W2 located at Winkongo were within the W.H.O drinking standards hence, the water is good for drinking. Hence, the findings from the survey certify objective two of the study which talks about assessing the pathways through which contaminants reach groundwater. Basically, the contaminated boreholes were G2, G3, G4, T2, T3, T4, W3 and W4. Therefore, water from these boreholes can be considered as not wholesome for usage based on the W.H.O guidelines for drinking water quality. This validates objective one of the study which sought to determine the quality of groundwater in the study communities
3.4 RESULTS FOR THE PATTERNS OF BOREHOLE USAGE3.4.1 Demographics of Households and RespondentsA total of 180 questionnaires were administered and retrieved from three selected communities; Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo. Gbanda-Yale community had forty (40) households surveyed because it has a population of 1,060. Tongo had sixty (60) households surveyed because it has a population of 4,413 and eighty (80) households surveyed for Winkongo since it has a population of 6,817. Each household had 1 respondent who was the husband, wife or the one in-charge of the household.

3.4.1.1 Distribution of households and respondentsA summary of the gender of respondents, age group, marital status, level of education and occupation have been displayed in a tabular format.

The survey conducted showed that from Gbanda-Yale, 15 respondents (38%) were males while 25 (62%) of the respondents were females. At Tongo, 25 respondents (42%) were males and thirty-five (58%) were females. At Winkongo, 26 respondents (33%) were males and 54 respondents (67%) were females. Most of the respondents were females because they use water more as compared to the men (see Table 3).

Table 3: Gender of respondentsSEX GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE (%) NO. PERCENTAGE (%) NO. PERCENTAGE (%)
MALE 15 38% 25 42% 26 33%
FEMALE 25 62% 35 58% 54 67%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

Respondents were of different age groups. The age groups were classified into five (5) and the targeted age group was 18 years and above. For example 18-26, 27-35, 36-44, 45-53 and 54 years or more
At Gbanda-Yale community, 12 respondents (30%) were within the age group 18-26, 17 respondents (42%) were within the 27-35, 8 respondents (20%) were within the 36-44 and 3 respondents (8%) were within the 45-53 age brackets. At Tongo, 18 respondents (30%) were within the age group 18-26, 21 respondents (35%) were within the 27-35, 15 respondents (25%) were within the 36-44 and 6 respondents (10%) were within the 45-53 age brackets. At Winkongo community, 21 respondents (26%) were within the age group 18-26, 26 respondents (32%) were within the 27-35, 15 respondents (19%) were within the 36-44, 14 respondents (18%) were within the 45-53 and 4 respondents (5%) were within 54 years or more as shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Age distribution of respondentsAGE GROUP GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PECENTAGE (%) NO. PERCENTAGE (%) NO. PERCENTAGE (%)
18-26 12 30% 18 30% 21 26%
27-35 17 42% 21 35% 26 32%
36-44 8 20% 15 25% 15 19%
45-53 3 8% 6 10% 14 18%
54+ 4 5%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

The study population had 10%, 28% and 27% single respondents in Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo respectively, 85% of the respondents were married in Gbanda-Yale community, 67% were married in Tongo and 68% respondents were married in Winkongo. For all the three communities, 5% of the respondents were divorced as shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Marital status of respondentsSTATUS GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
SINGLE 4 10% 17 28% 22 27%
MARRIED 34 85% 40 67% 55 68%
DIVORCED 2 5% 3 5% 3 5%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

Levels of education of the respondents were grouped into 4 categories; primary level, secondary level, college level and those who have never been to school. Most of the respondents had never been to school before. At Gbanda-Yale, 77% of the respondents had no formal education. It was 40% and 65% respectively without any formal education at Tongo and Winkongo as shown in Table 6
Table 6: Level of education of respondents.LEVEL GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PECENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
PRIMARY 9 23% 18 30% 16 20%
SECONDARY – – 15 25% 11 14%
COLLEGE – – 3 5% 1 1%
NONE 31 77% 24 40% 52 65%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

Farming was the dominant type of economic activity among respondents in the three communities. Sixty-two percent of the people were engaged in farming at Gbanda-Yale, fifty five percent at Tongo and fifty two percent at Winkongo. In addition, eighteen percent of the people were into trading at Gbanda-Yale community, twenty five percent at Tongo community and twenty two percent at Winkongo community. However, there were other activities engaged in by people in the three communities. Some of these activities were weaving, carpentry, hairdressing, electricians, teaching, etc which were grouped as ‘Others’ constituting five percent at Gbanda-Yale, thirteen percent at Tongo and twenty two at Winkongo as shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Activities respondents were engaged in.ACTIVITIES GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PECENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
FARMING 25 62% 33 55% 41 52%
TRADING 7 18% 15 25% 18 22%
LIVESTOCK REARING 6 15% 4 7% 3 4%
OTHERS 2 5% 8 13% 18 22%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

3.5 RESPONDENTS PERCEIVED SOURCES OF WATER CONTAMINATIONGroundwater can be contaminated by natural means or by human activities. Commercial, residential and agricultural activities can all influence groundwater quality. Some substances may be found in some soils or rocks naturally such as iron, chloride, fluoride or arsenic that can be dissolved in groundwater to contaminate it (British Geological Survey, 2004). Human activities like fertilizer usage, illegal dumping of wastes, and bathing around boreholes can contaminate the water (Adugbire et al., 2010). From the survey, respondents were asked to indicate which activities of theirs they believed could be responsible for contaminating the water. Out of the total respondents, 38%, 45% and 49% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo community respectively said households hide in cropped fields to defecate which could be contaminating the water. Also, 10%, 8% and 4% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo community respectively said is due to the use of fertilizers, 20% respondents from Gbanda-Yale community perceived that the water was contaminated due to households washing clothes and household utensils around boreholes, 17% and 11% respondents from Tongo and Winkongo community shared the same view. In addition, 22% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, 15% from Tongo and 32% from Winkongo said in the dry season, animals on free range drink from the borehole pads and end up leaving their droppings soaked in the water and this could infiltrate into the groundwater. Bathing around boreholes, dumping of rubbish closer to boreholes were other activities perceived by respondents to be contaminating the water (see Table 8). The boreholes were all located on farmlands where harvested food crops and grasses were left close to the boreholes with the exception of borehole G1 at Gbanda-Yale, T1 at Tongo, W1 and W2 at Winkongo which were not found on farm lands.

Table 8: Perceived sources of groundwater contamination by respondentsGBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
PERCEIVED SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
Hiding in crops to defecate near boreholes 15 38% 27 45% 23 49%
Use of fertilizers 4 10% 5 8% 2 4%
Washing around boreholes 8 20% 10 17% 5 11%
Animals droppings soaked in water pads 9 22% 9 15% 15 32%
Others 4 10% 9 15% 2 4%
Source: Field Survey, 2017.

Some of the respondents showed concern about possible contamination resulting from defecating near boreholes, the use of fertilizers, washing around boreholes and animal droppings soaked in borehole pads. The ‘others’ constitute those who had no idea of what is contaminating the water. From the literature, groundwater is unsafe in areas where population density is high and land use is intensive. Farming was the dominant activity in the study areas and was done intensively as well as areas where the application of fertilizers, pesticides and manure is intensive. The use of animal manure was very high in the three communities and could possibly contaminate groundwater in the areas studied. All the boreholes that were sited on farmlands were faecally contaminated and this could be as a result of too much spreading of manures on crops since farming was the dominant type of economic activity in the study communities and was done intensively. Majority of the respondents reported the use of animal manure on their farms as organic fertilizers for plant growth. And the use of animal manure can easily be leached when mixed with water which may infiltrate into groundwater hence, causing groundwater contamination. Respondents were asked the pathways they perceived contaminants reach groundwater and the following answers emerged. About 26%, 25% and 9% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo community respectively were of the view that groundwater can be contaminated through agricultural runoff. Also, 22%, 38% and 19% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo community respectively reported that contaminants can reach groundwater when contaminants are discharged directly to the soil and infiltrate into the groundwater. In addition, 13% respondents from Gbanda-Yale, 20% from Tongo and 6% from Winkongo said plants can take in some substances through their roots from the soil directly and contaminants could seep into the groundwater. It was recorded that 22% and 26% of respondents from Gbanda-Yale and Winkongo communities respectively were of the view that contaminants seep into the groundwater through holes created by animals for habitation (see Table 9). These findings validate objective two of the study which sought to investigate the pathways through which contaminants reach groundwater in the study areas.
Table 9: Pathways contaminants reach groundwaterPATHWAYS CONTAMINANTS REACH GROUNDWATER GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF 10 26% 15 25% 7 9%
SOIL 9 22% 23 38% 15 19%
ROCKS 1 3% 3 5% 1 1%
HOLES CREATED BY ANIMALS 9 22% 0 0% 21 26%
ROOT OF PLANTS 5 13% 12 20% 5 6%
OTHERS 6 14% 7 12% 31 39%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2018.

3.6 KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTION ON GROUNDWATER QUALITY BY RESPONDENTSThe most common source of water supply in the Talensi district is boreholes. These boreholes have been in existence for about five to ten years. Some boreholes were observed to have been in existence for about 15 years. Although there has been the introduction of pipe borne water in some communities by government and Non-Governmental Organizations, the use of borehole water is still predominant in district as observed during the field survey. However, it was observed that some houses in Tongo and Winkongo had pipe water connection yet majority of the people resorted to the use of borehole water for bathing, washing utensils and for laundry in order to cut down cost on water bills. The majority of the people who could not afford for the piped water connection were using boreholes. And at Gbanda-Yale, there was no introduction of pipe borne water. Perceptions of respondents from the three communities were examined to find out their knowledge on groundwater quality. Respondents from the three communities perceived their water sources to be good for drinking. They used indicators such as the look, taste and smell of the water. About 70% of the respondents from Gbanda-Yale, 43% from Tongo and 44% from Winkongo communities considered borehole water safe and good for drinking by looking at the colour of the water. Also, 15%, 30% and 28% of the respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo communities respectively perceived water to be good for drinking by using the taste of the water and 15% of respondents from Gbanda-Yale, 27% from Tongo and 28% from Winkongo communities used the smell of the water to determine if it is good for drinking (see Table 10).
Table 10: Indicators used to identify wholesome water by respondents INDICATORS
  GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
Look 28 70% 26 43% 34 44%
Taste 6 15% 18 30% 23 28%
Smell 6 15% 16 27% 23 28%
Total 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2017.

In addition, respondents also perceived borehole water to be safe for use as compared to hand dug wells and surface water. Others also perceived the water to be free of contaminants since it is found beneath the earth’s surface but this is not so. Per the results for the water analyses, there is a gap in knowledge on the perception of groundwater quality by the respondents and the reality of groundwater quality. The perceptions of the people on groundwater quality contradicts that of the results from the water laboratory. Water found beneath the earth’s surface does not imply that the water is free from contamination. In reality, water found beneath the earth’s surface sometimes contains dissolved mineral and chemicals which are key threats to users who depend on groundwater. It can be concluded based on the results from the water samples tested that, despite the fact that groundwater is found beneath the earth surface does not mean it is free from contamination and safe for use. In relation to the objective of the study which sought to examine the indigenous knowledge and perceptions on groundwater, the findings indicates that there is a gap in knowledge between what the people perceived groundwater to be and the results from the laboratory thus the people had little or no knowledge on groundwater quality since their claims were not in line with the results and this could be as a result of their level of education. It was observed from the survey that the level of education of the respondents had an effect on their perception on groundwater (see Table 11).

Table 11: Level of education of respondents and their perception on groundwater usageCross tabulation of respondents’ level of education and perception of how safe the water is.
Is borehole water safe for drinking? Total
Yes No Have no idea 5 Level of education Primary Count 0 39 4 0 43
% within Level of education 0.0% 90.7% 9.3% 0.0% 100.0%
% within Do you think it is safe to drink water directly from borehole without treatment? 0.0% 56.5% 15.4% 0.0% 23.9%
Secondary Count 0 26 0 0 26
% within Level of education 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
% within Do you think it is safe to drink water directly from borehole without treatment? 0.0% 37.7% 0.0% 0.0% 14.4%
College Count 0 4 0 0 4
% within Level of education 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%
% within Do you think it is safe to drink water directly from borehole without treatment? 0.0% 5.8% 0.0% 0.0% 2.2%
No formal education Count 83 0 22 2 107
% within Level of education 77.6% 0.0% 20.6% 1.9% 100.0%
% within Do you think it is safe to drink water directly from borehole without treatment? 100.0% 0.0% 84.6% 100.0% 59.4%
Total Count 83 69 26 2 180
% within Level of education 46.1% 38.3% 14.4% 1.1% 100.0%
% within Do you think it is safe to drink water directly from borehole without treatment? 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Source: Field survey, 2018.

Table 11 shows a cross tabulation responses from level of education and respondents perception on groundwater usage. There is a close relation between the level of education and people’s perception on groundwater quality. Education influences the perception of an individual. Those with formal education (primary, secondary and tertiary education) did not ascribe to the notion of safety of groundwater for drinking, this is evident in the zero (0) response recorded from such category of respondents. About 38.3% of the respondents were of the view that groundwater is not safe for drinking due to the presence of impurities which occur naturally and through human induced actions (anthropogenic infraction on the environment). Those without formal education (46.1%) were of the view that groundwater is safe for human consumption with the perception that water found beneath the earth surface is usually free from contamination hence, safe for drinking. About 14.4% of the respondents also had no idea as to whether groundwater is safe for drinking. Table 11 shows that, educational level influenced respondents’ perception of quality of groundwater. For instance, the more one is educated the less likely they view groundwater to be safe for drinking. It was observed that respondents had poor perception on groundwater quality since they were unaware of the quality of water they were drinking and the path of contamination.
3.7 GROUNDWATER USAGE BY RESPONDENTSGroundwater was used for all purposes like drinking, cooking, bathing, dish washing and laundry in the study communities. Of these, females in the communities tend to use the water than males do for the various activities mentioned above. Though there were other sources of water like pipe water, hand-dug wells and dams, borehole water was the main source of water for all purposes like drinking, cooking, etc as indicated by majority of the respondents. The responses from respondents on water usage was coded into the SPSS for analysis
From the SPSS analysis, it was recorded that 65%, 57% and 48% of respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo communities respectively used the water for drinking purposes. Although 65%, 57% and 48% of respondents used the water for drinking, almost all of them used the water for cooking thus, 25% of respondents at Gbanda-Yale community used it for cooking, 21% of respondents at Tongo used the water for cooking and 36% of respondents at Winkongo used the water for cooking. Out of the 40 respondents at Gbanda-Yale, 2% of the respondents said they used the water for bathing, 17% at Tongo and 10% at Winkongo also said they used the water for bathing as shown in Table 12.

Table 12: Borehole uses in the three communities  GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
BOREHOLE USE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
Drinking 26 65% 34 57% 38 48%
Cooking 10 25% 13 21% 29 36%
Bathing 1 2% 10 17% 8 10%
Washing 3 8% 3 5% 5 6%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2018.

3.8 HEALTH IMPACT OF CONTAMINATIONDue to no periodic monitoring of borehole water for its quality, households continue to drink from these contaminated boreholes and they stand the chance of being exposed to water borne diseases. The study therefore sought to investigate common water-related ailments suffered by users.

3.8.1 Reported cases of water related diseases at the various hospitalsFrom the field survey, 33respondents (82%)from Gbanda-Yale community, 50 respondents (83%) from Tongo community and73 respondents (91%) from Winkongo stated they usually visit the hospital when they fall sick whiles 18%, 17% and 7% of the respondents from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo communities respectively do not visit the hospital when they fall sick (see Table 13). But rather resorted to the use of traditional herbs.

Table 13: Respondents who visited the hospital when they fall sick.  GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
  NO. PECENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
YES 33 82% 50 83% 73 91%
NO 7 18% 10 17% 7 9%
TOTAL 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey, 2018.

Respondents were asked the hospital they normally visit when they fall sick and the following answers emerged. Out of the 33 respondents from Gbanda-Yale who visit the hospital, 22 respondents (65%) visited the Talensi District Hospital and 11 respondents (35%) visited the Datuku Health Centre. Also, the 50 respondents (83%) from Tongo visited the Talensi District Hospital and 73 respondents (91%) from Winkongo visited the Winkongo Health Centre (see Table 14).
Table 14: Health centres used by respondents HEALTH CENTRES GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
Talensi District Hospital 22 65% 53 83% – Datuku Health Centre 11 35% – – Winkongo Health Centre – 73 91%
 TOTAL 33 100% 53 83% 73 91%
Source: Field survey, 2018.

Information from the Talensi District Hospital and Winkongo Health Centre indicated a high incidence of water related diseases in the district. Some of the reported cases of water-related diseases were enteritis, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera. But the frequently recorded cases at the Talensi district hospital was diarrhoea and typhoid whiles the common cases reported at the Winkongo health centre was enteritis and gastroenteritis at the time of the field survey. This finding supports that of Adugbire et al., (2010) whose study recorded water-related diseases in the Talensi district hospital to be diarrhoea, typhoid, enteric fever, etc due to the usage of contaminated groundwater.

Diarrhoea is generally an indication of an infection in the intestinal tract. Viral, bacterial and parasitic organisms usually cause diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is contracted mostly by drinking contaminated water (NIDDK, n.d).

Typhoid fever also known as enteric fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella enteric serovartyphi. Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking contaminated water that has faecal matter in it. After drinking water contaminated with the Salmonella typhi bacteria, the bacteria moves down into the digestive system where it increases in number. Some symptoms of typhoid fever are stomach pain, diarrhoea, weakness and fatigue (Sly, 2017). Enteritis is the swelling of the small intestine. The most typical type of bacterial enteritis is by food poisoning but, one can contract enteritis by ingesting contaminated water with bacteria. Some of the symptoms of enteritis are weakness, fatigue and dizziness (Pietrangelo, 2016). Gastroenteritis also called stomach flu is the swelling of the stomach and intestine. It is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection and is contracted by drinking or eating contaminated water or food. Vomiting, stomach pain, fever and headache are all symptoms of gastroenteritis (Colledge et al., 2016). At the end of the survey, it was found that contaminated water had an implication on the health of people who depend on these sources of water. Contaminated groundwater and poor hygiene are associated to the transmission of these water-related diseases stated above. On the health effect of contaminated water, this is what some respondents at Gbanda-Yale had to say;
“i have body pains, stomach pains, loose watery stools, vomiting, etc” and these are some of the symptoms of water-related diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, gastroenteritis, etc. This validates objective four of the study which sought to find out the health implications of contaminated groundwater on the lives of the respondents.

3.9 WATER TREATMENTMost people who used the borehole water in the three communities for various activities did not treat the water before usage since they perceived it to be wholesome and therefore good for use. When respondents were asked whether they treated the borehole water before using, the following results emerged. About 95% of respondents from Gbanda-Yale said they do not treat the water before using it and 5% of respondents said they treated the water before using it for drinking. At Tongo community, 38% of respondents said they treated the water and 62% of respondents do not do any household treatment and 14% of respondents from Winkongo community said they treated the water before using it whiles 86% of respondents do not treat the water in any way (see Table 15).

Table 15: Responses from households on water treatment 
WATER TREATMENT GBANDA-YALE TONGO WINKONGO
NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE NO. PERCENTAGE
Yes 2 5% 23 38% 11 14%
No 38 95% 37 62% 69 86%
Total 40 100% 60 100% 80 100%
Source: Field survey. 2018.

Reasons given in support of why they do not treat the water before using include: eight ofthe respondents said the water is free from contamination since is found beneath the earth surface, seven of the respondents also responded that it is safe to drink water directly from the borehole without any form of treatment, fifteen of the respondents said they have no idea about water treatment whiles eight respondents said they usually do not treat the water because groundwater is good and clean therefore there is no need treating the water. At Tongo community, two of the respondents said since the water was found beneath the earth surface, it was free from contamination, nineteen respondents also responded that it was safe to drink water directly from the borehole without any form of treatment, five of the respondents said they have no idea on water treatment whiles eleven respondents were of the view that groundwater is good and clean therefore there is no need treating the water. The reasons given were not different from the Winkongo community. Six, twenty one, seventeen and twenty five of the respondents from Winkongo shared the same view respectively. Boiling and allowing the water particles to settle were the mode of treatment used by respondents who claimed they treated their water. However, majority of the respondents do not treat the water because they claimed the water was safe since it was from under the earth.

There is the need for water treatment in order to improve the quality of drinking water and reduce disease causing microorganisms in drinking water. There are a number of ways groundwater can be treated to make it wholesome for usage and some of these treatment methods are boiling, filtration, addition of alum and chlorination (Personal Communication with the Talensi District Water and Sanitation Chairman, 2018). Filtration is used to remove particulate matter such as sediments from water. There are different methods of filtration but the common one is the use of a clean white cloth as a filter. Chlorination is also a common water treatment method for disinfecting against harmful viruses and bacteria. Nevertheless, it was recorded that boiling was the treatment method some respondents used to disinfect the water. This validates objective five of the study which sought to assess the treatment requirements of groundwater.
The groundwater samples from Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo communities were assessed for their quality. The results showed that groundwater in the study communities were mostly faecally contaminated and not good for drinking. Lack of knowledge was demonstrated in the survey. The results show that households were unaware that their activities affect groundwater quality and some had no idea that poor water quality has an impact on their health. Educational programs must be developed to alert households to issues of groundwater.

CHAPTER FOURFINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS4.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter summarizes the main findings from the research conducted. It gives an appropriate conclusion based on the findings of the study and suggests recommendations and possible research gaps which will guide future research in the groundwater sector.
4.2 SUMMARY OF THE STUDYThe study was conducted in the Talensi district in the Upper East region of Ghana to assess the quality of groundwater in the Talensi district with special emphasis on boreholes. The specific objectives of the study were;
To determine the level of contaminants in the groundwater in the Talensi district.

To investigate pathways through which contaminants reach groundwater in the Talensi district.

To examine the indigenous knowledge and perceptions on groundwater quality.
To find out the health implications of contaminated groundwater on the lives of people in the Talensi district.

To assess the treatment requirements of the groundwater.

The Talensi district map was divided and grouped into three (3) clusters. The clusters were labelled as West, Central and East areas. The simple random sampling technique was used to select one community from each cluster giving a total of three (3) communities to ensure reliable independent estimates for each community. The actual field work of the study was in two phases; a laboratory aspect and a questionnaire aspect. One hundred and eighty respondents were interviewed using questionnaires. Data on demographics of households and groundwater usage were recorded. Boreholes were the main source of water in the study communities. The objective of this study was to determine the level of contaminants in groundwater in Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo in the Talensi District in the Upper East region of Ghana. The study relied on both primary and secondary sources of data. A total of twelve water samples were collected from 12 drinking water sources precisely boreholes in January 2018. Water quality was based on physical, chemical and microbial analysis of water samples collected from boreholes in the communities. Laboratory test was carried out for turbidity, colour, nitrate, iron, hardness, chloride, fluoride, arsenic, total and faecal coliforms. Most of the parameters analysed were within the W.H.O standard for drinking water quality. Iron ranged from 0.02 to 0.19, hardness ranged from 16 to 46, chloride ranged from 12 to 40 and fluoride ranged from 0.15 to 0.42 mg/l. However, it was also found that a few of the parameters were above the W.H.O standards. Turbidity, colour, nitrate, total and faecal coliform levels were above the W.H.O standards for drinking water quality. Turbidity ranged from 1.0 to 63.0, colour ranged from 1.5 to 28.6, nitrate ranged from 1.5 to 26.3. Total coliform ranged from 2 to 54 and total faecal ranged from 1 to 6 cfu/1ml. These cases where mostly recorded at G3 and if there’s an intervention, it should be at borehole G3 since it was the most affected. The level of microbial contamination of the boreholes was very high thus, a potential source of polluting the water. The water was found to be faecally contaminated hence not safe for drinking based on the W.H.O standards for drinking water. High levels of total and faecal coliforms were detected at eight sampling points. Respondents could not tell as to when they would have access to tap water however, they believed it was the responsibility of the government to provide them with tap water. The borehole water was used for all purposes like drinking, cooking, washing clothes, bathing, etc as indicated by majority of respondents. The negative health effects of some parameters were also reported at the Talensi District Hospital and Winkongo Health Centre.
4.2 FINDINGS According to the water analyst at the Water Laboratory in Tamale, groundwater is highly contaminated in the rainy season than in the dry season since in the dry season there is significant reduction in the contaminants from the parameters tested.
Farming is the main anthropogenic activity that affects the quality of the borehole water in the three communities; Gbanda-Yale, Tongo and Winkongo, this can be attributed to the high use of manures on farms in the study communities. Boreholes were located on farm plots where crops were grown near boreholes in the rainy season whiles in the dry season, grasses and food crops are left around covered boreholes.
The study communities had no waste containers for the disposal of household solid waste. Hence, sanitary facilities in the communities were insufficient. Therefore, open defecation was common and found in drains, bushes and open fields. They may result in bacteria, parasites and viruses which may be transmitted to the people through drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated food.

The communities were exposed to diseases related to poor hygiene. Data results from the Talensi District Hospital and Winkongo Health Centre indicated that there was high incidence of sanitation and water-related diseases in the district and some of these water-related diseases were diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, dysentery, etc.

The local people had no good perception on groundwater quality and this was as a result of their level of education. It was evident that educational level influenced respondents’ perception on groundwater quality and their way of thinking.
Also, out of 180 respondents who used water from boreholes, only 20% treated the water before usage. The water treatment method that was common in the communities where borehole water was treated was boiling.
4.3 CONCLUSIONThe study shows that out of the 10 parameters which were assessed, 5 satisfied the W.H.O guidelines for drinking water quality whereas 5 parameters had values which were above the WH.O guidelines for drinking water quality. The parameters which were above the W.H.O guidelines were turbidity, colour, nitrate, total coliform and faecal coliform. The results showed that boreholes in the study areas were faecally contaminated. It is clear that drinking water direct from these sources can be harmful to users however, water from these sources are suitable for washing, bathing and other domestic purposes aside drinking. Hence, it is important to treat water before drinking in order to prevent water-related diseases. The levels of turbidity, colour, nitrate, total coliform and faecal coliform in water samples from Gbanda-Yale were above the W.H.O standard of 0-5 NTU for turbidity, 0-25 HU for colour, 0-10 mg/l for nitrate and 0cfu/1ml for both total and faecal coliform while that of total and faecal coliform were higher in Tongo and Winkongo communities. Although there are possible sources that may be responsible for the existence of faecal matter in the study communities, the study revealed that the water sources in the study areas were contaminated from open defecation, the use of manures, fertilizers and washing of clothes around boreholes. Basically, the groundwater of the study communities can be considered as not wholesome for drinking based on the W.H.O guidelines for turbidity, colour, nitrate, total and faecal coliform.
4.4 RECOMMENDATIONSIn view of the findings of the study, the following measures are recommended to reduce or prevent any further water contamination and to prevent severe health impacts on the people in the District:
Local communities should monitor household activities close to boreholes and ensure hygienic inspections in order to maintain sanitation and hygiene near the boreholes. Activities near boreholes should be monitored to ensure that drinking water sources boreholes are not sited close to farmlands.

Households and the whole community should be educated by the Assembly persons and Sanitation Officers on the health effects associated with human exposure to contaminated water to prevent them from contaminating water sources.

There is the need for education and enforcement of laws by the Assembly to discourage open defecation commonly known as ‘free range’ in the study communities.

The District Assembly and Water and Sanitation Officers should always demand test results carried out by NGOs on boreholes in the communities to help keep records and make it available for easy access and also more periodic tests to ascertain if any changes in the water quality has occurred.

There is the need to embark on a thorough educational campaign to educate the community on water treatment to reduce or remove the contaminant loads in them.

Restriction of washing around boreholes is critical to maintain groundwater quality. Therefore laws should be enforced to prevent households from washing around boreholes.