Public Awareness As The Key To Protection Of Groundwater Sources

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Potable water must be safe and palatable; therefore it is essential to limit the concentration of contaminants found in groundwater. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that water entering the distribution system should be safe for drinking and free from faecal coliforms, streptococci and any other form of contaminant. 

Groundwater contamination posses a risk to public health and increase the cost of drinking water treatment. Groundwater protection is a proactive approach for the enhancement of drinking water quality and quantity. Water source protection involves the protection of surface water source and the protection of groundwater sources from contaminant of any kind. Groundwater source protection include basic measures and rules such as the installation of fence around the source, banning of grazing of animal in the surrounding area, location of well up-slope away from source of contamination and management of operation and maintenance. Although very simple, these measures are highly effective. In the past, the need for groundwater source protection has often been neglected. As a consequence, many drinking water source become contaminated making water purification measures indispensible. Recently, effective public awareness programmes and adequate groundwater source protection has been recognized as the most suitable and cost effective method to keep contaminants out of drinking water. 

Implementing groundwater source protection requires a legal framework. This usually involves a protection plan, which formulates responsibilities, specific protection measures and basic rules that apply for all community members and groundwater source users. This is an effective way of managing public drinking water systems because prevention of contamination at the source enhances public health protection is also more cost efficient than the treatment of contaminated water.



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