The increase in the scarcity of pipe-bone water supply in Enugu Urban, Nigeria, has led to the residents looking for alternative sources of portable water supply. As a result of this, the households now depend on surface water for their domestic activities. These surface waters due to anthropogenic activities have been contaminated and as such are no longer good for consumption and other domestic activities. The purpose of this study is to conduct a comparative physiochemical and biological analysis of the three major rivers that cut across Enugu Urban. In comparison with the safe limits described by the World Health Organization (WHO) analysis, one can determine which of these rivers is safe. Thus, comparative analysis of water quality was carried out on these three rivers, Ekulu, Asata and Ogbete Rivers. Various standard methods were used for physiochemical analysis. For microbiological analysis, total coli-form was determined within or slightly above the limits described by the WHO. The contamination of these rivers may be as a result of human activities due to erosion and run-off. The result of this analysis has created awareness on the quality of these water sources which if well utilized by appropriate government agencies will bring about measures that will stop further pollution of the rivers.
The importance of water to every living organism cannot be over emphasized. Life on earth began in water and humans are made up of about 80% water (Ubani et al., 2014). The rapid increase in population of urban areas in many developing countries has led to increase in contamination of surface water. Furthermore, because of man’s quest for development and selfishness as regards the utilization of the earth's natural resources, man has degraded the environment in such a way that the outcome of man’s activities is beginning to threaten man’s existence.
In Enugu Urban, access to portable water supply from the State Water Corporation is a serious problem due to the fact that the population of Enugu has been on geometric increase. In a bid to meet the demand for water, most people have resorted to using surface water. Regrettably, Ude (2001) on highlighting the sources of pollution posited that most streams in Enugu Urban drain some heavily fertilized agricultural land as well as some uncultivated land. In some places, people defecate inside the rivers. Some of these rivers like the Ogbete, Ekulu Rivers receive effluents from abattoir as well as kitchen wastes and septic tanks overflow from homes. Livestocks are regularly made to drink in the rivers thus animal faeces are common features. These heavily polluted rivers are the major sources of water supply to the urban dwellers (see plates 1–3). The implication is that most of the surface waters which have been in use for laundry, bathing, swimming, cultivating vegetables, washing food, irrigation and sometimes drinking have been heavily polluted. Contaminated water supplies consumption is the major cause of varieties of water borne diseases
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