In May we announced the launch of Earthwatch’s partnership with WaterAid Nigeria to investigate water quality and faecal bacteria presence in water in Benué state, Nigeria using the FreshWater Watch programme.
Benué state is known as the food basket of Nigeria, however lack of access to safe water and latrines lead to generations of communities forced to defecate where they could. This means that harmful faecal coliform bacteria can easily contaminate water sources.
Participants testing nutrients
WaterAid Nigeria has enabled 28,000 people to have access to safe water and 50 communities have been declared open-defecation free.
FreshWater Watch is Earthwatch’s global citizen science programme to investigate the health of bodies of water. With only 1% of the world’s fresh water accessible for all our needs, it is important that we know about the health of ponds, rivers and groundwater. With a growing community of almost 8,000 FreshWater Watchers around the world carrying out simple scientific tests on their local bodies of water, Earthwatch is building a global picture of freshwater health on scale never seen before.
Wandoo Akosu, Programme Support Manager, WaterAid Nigeria selected ten community leaders have been trained to use the FreshWater Watch kits first by teaching them about the importance of phosphate and nitrate nutrients to water quality.
Awater tap, one of the first sampling sites in Nigeria
Wandoo reports that the group is excited about the process and being a part of the monitoring their own water quality.
Next the community leaders will test for signs of sewage contamination by testing for the concentrations of faecal coliform bacteria. If they discover that their water sources appear to have faecal coliform present, WaterAid and Earthwatch will run laboratory tests to confirm the quality of the water.