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The purpose of the study was to find out water management and basic sanitation practices among rural women in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Benue state, Nigeria. To achieve the purpose of the study, ten research questions were formulated and four null hypotheses postulated and tested at .05 level of significance. The descriptive survey research design was utilized. The instrument used for data collection was the researcher designed questionnaire on water management and basic sanitation practices among rural women in Katsina-Ala L.G.A. the population for the study consisted 71711 rural women in Kafsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State. Stratified random sampling technique was used in order to arrive at the sample. This yielded a sample of 1434 respondents. The data collected were analysed using mean scores to answer research questions and one-way ANOVA was used to test hypotheses. The findings of the study showed that: on sources of water, the rural women moderately used hand dug well,
bore-hole and rain water. The containers moderately use to collect and store water were open buckets, basins, jerry cans and rubber pots respectively. Chlorine and filtration were the methods they use for water treatment. Landfill or controlled tipping, crude or uncontrolled dumping, toilet with sewer connection, simple pit latrine, and bush were the methods of solid and sewage waste disposal they practiced respectively. Finally there was no significant difference in water management and basic sanitation practices adopted by rural women according to level of education and age. Major recommendation is the rural women should be health educated generally on water management and sanitation practice.


Background to the Study

Access to safe water and basic sanitation is considered a basic human need and a basichuman right for all people, yet this basic right remains unrealized for a large majority of peoplein developing countries, especially in rural communities. Global figures that describe the lack ofwater and sanitation services are alarming. More than 1.1 billion people do not have access toimproved drinking water supplies. Lack of sanitation is even the larger problem; an estimated 2.6billion individuals live without improved sanitation services World Health Organization andUnited Nations International Children Education Funds (WHO &UNICEF, 2004).

Additionally,about eighty per cent of the world is covered with water and yet millions around the world sufferfrom water shortages, and lack access to safe water, leading to disease, death, crop failure andfamine (Sander, 2007).Areas without adequate supplies of safe water and basic sanitation services carry thehighest burden of diseases which disproportionately impact on children under five years of age.UNICEF (2006) stated that children weakened by frequent diarrhea episodes are more likely tobe seriously affected by malnutrition and infections such as pneumonia and they can be leftphysically and mentally stunted for the rest of their lives .

Evans (2005) maintained thatapproximately 88 per cent of all diarrhea infections worldwide are attributed to unsafe watersupply, lack of safe hygiene practices and basic sanitation infrastructures. Similarly highincidence of vector borne disease, intestinal diseases and trachoma in developing countries isstrongly correlated with unsanitary practices and the absence of nearby sources of safe water.Olusegun (2010) maintained that in Nigeria, the inadequacy of safe water and improvedsanitation services is manifested in the prevalence of water and sanitation related diseases.Diarrhoea, which results from poor sanitary/hygiene habits and consumption of water of poorquality, is the second main cause of infant mortality after malaria, and the third main cause ofunder-five mortality.

The prevalence of diarrhea is higher in the rural than in the urban areas andin the northern zones than in the south. According to United Nation (2005), the scale of theproblem is immense, nearly twice as many people lack access to sanitation compared with watersupply.Water is acclaimed the key to health and the general contention is that water is even morebasic than all other essential things of life and living including immunization and therefore, mustbe given the first and highest priority.



Regardless of his status and his domicile, mancompulsorily requires regular and accessible supply of water which as a biological imperativeforms a major component of his body cells, about 75 per cent of the liquid content of the humanbody (WHO & UNICEF, 2008).Water is a clear sparkling, colourless, odourless and tasteless fluid. It contains twohydrogen and one atom of oxygen hence its chemical formular is H2O. According to Mathur(2007), water is a great cleaning agent both externally and internally.

In the context of this studywater is referred to as clear liquid without colour, smell or teste. It has essential requirement forvital physiological and biochemical processes such as digestion, respiration, excretion andcirculation. The available quantity of fresh water is also linked to human in several ways, such aswater for ingestion, water for hygiene and water for food production. Even when water isavailable it requires adequate sourcing, collection, transportation, storage, treatment andsanitation practices. This means that water needs proper management.Balogun (1981) maintained that management is a process of tactfully controlling orbringing various elements to work together for some particular purpose. Onah and Thomas(1993) see management as a process through which group efforts or activities are directedtowards the achievement of preconceived objectives.

American Association of SchoolAdministrators AASA, (1995) defined management as the totality of the process through whichappropriate human and material resources are made available and made effective foraccomplishing the purpose of an enterprise or organization. Ogbonnaya (1997) viewedmanagement as a process of getting things accomplished or done through the assistance of otherpeople. When management relates to water, it is called water management. Therefore, watermanagement is the process of tactfully controlling or bringing various elements such as sourcing,storage, treatment and sanitation practices to work together for some health purpose.

In thiscontext Water management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing, and making theoptimum use of water sources.Water sources means locations or places where fresh water flow abundantly in the formof river, lake, pond or stream. In this study water sources refers to locations or origin wherewater that are useful or potentially useful to man comes from. According to WHO (2000)improved drinking water sources should be constructed and design to protect the water sourcefrom outside contamination, in particular from fecal matter.

Sources that meet the definition ofimproved drinking water include: a household connection pipe, public pipe borne water,borehole, protected dug well, protected spring or rainwater collection. WHO (2004) asserted thatdrinking water comes from different sources depending on where people live. Three sources thatare used to collect drinking water are rain water, surface water and ground water. Park (2009)opined that water sources must conform to two criteria.

The quantity must be sufficient to meetpresent and future requirement and the quality of water must be acceptable. Wallace (2009)posited that most suitable water source to be developed for use by any community depends onthe quantity and quality of the source under consideration for development. The selection of themost appropriate water source for human use in a specific region may result from a wide varietyof options available which include ground water, surface water and rain water.Rain water is a product of a natural process of distillation.

Dhaar and Robbani (2008)asserted that rain water is the prime source of all the water, a part of the rain water sinks into theground to form ground water, part of it evaporates into the atmosphere and some runs off to formstreams and rivers, which flow ultimately into the sea. Rain water is the purest in nature. Surfacewater normally originately from precipitation and is widely distributed in nature. According toDhaar and Robbani (2008) surface water is the commonest source of water for most people in the developing countries.

Oceans are the largest storehouse of surface water in the world. In the landarea, surface water exist either in the moving state as in rivers and streams or in stationarycondition as in tanks, ponds and impounded reservoirs. Ground water is universally distributedboth as a natural outpouring of an aquifer in the form of spring and as wells excavated in earth,to reach an aquifer. According to Dhaar and Robbani (2008) ground water contains excess ofinorganic matter and little or no organic impurities. It is free from suspended matter andcomparatively with surface water, it is less aerated and less agreeable to taste. Ground waterdrawn from adequately protected deep wells is naturally free from pathogens when it is properlycollected.Water collection means taking water from a natural source and feeding into a distributionsystem.

The source can be an underground reservoir, a body of standing water, a body of flowingwater or any natural substance from which water can be extracted. In this study water collectionis the haversting of water from a natural body or from rain and directing it to a desired place.Clasen and Roberts (2006) observed that contamination of water can occur during and aftercollection often because of poorly designed open containers and improper hygiene and handlingduring transportation.Water transportation means movement of water over large distance to another place. Inthis study water transportation is the process of moving water from one location to another.

Thebenefits of protected sources on water quality and health are limited unless safe transportationand storage can be assured.Water storage means keeping water in a special place while it is not being used. In thecontext of this study water storage means keeping water away from sources of contamination andusing a clean and covered container to hold it. Wikipedia (2000) asserted that water storagecontainer may be a reservoir, a water bottle, jerry can, clay pot, rubber pot, basin, bucket with liddrum and tank.

The container should prevent hand, cups and dippers from touching the water sothat the water does not get recontaminated. Storage containers should be well protected fromoutside contamination and use for no other purpose other than the storage of clean water. In astudy conducted by Okoga (2007) found that the higher a woman’s level of education, the morelikely she is to be conscious of her health and that of her family. She is also more likely to takepositive actions that are capable of promoting good health. She can have education on safestorage of water and treatment of unsafe water for domestic use. Conversely, the illiterate womenmay lack the basic education on efficient use and pollution prevention, even as they may havelearned strategies to conserve safe water.

Wikipedia (2000) further asserted that water should only be stored in material that iscreated specifically for long term storage of liquids intended for consumption. It is important thathygienic containers should be used to store water as some containers can leak, crack, degrade orotherwise cause problems to the stored water. Sometime it is difficult to find or buy a goodstorage container, but the most important things are to make sure that it is covered and the waterstored undergoes adequate treatment so that it can be safe for drinking.Faust and Aly (1998) viewed water treatment as a physical and chemical processes formaking water suitable for human consumption and other purposes.

Safe Drinking Water (2000)defined water treatment as the process for enhancing the quality of water so that it meets thewater quality criteria for its fitness for the intended use. They further asserted that watertreatment originally focused on improving the qualities of drinking water. According to WHO (2000) water purification is the removal of contaminants from raw water to produce safe waterthat is pure enough for human consumption. Substances that are removed during the process ofwater treatment include bacteria’s, algae, viruses, fungi, minerals and man-made chemistrypollutants. Osmonics (2004) opined that water treatment is any procedure or method used to alterthe chemistry composition or natural “behavior” of water.

In the context of this study watertreatment is a process of removing harmful substances and odour from a raw water source. Wateravailable in nature from surface or underground sources is described as raw water. It requirestreatment before it can be supplied for human consumption. The nature of treatment isdetermined by the quality of raw water and the impurities present in it, ground water may needonly partial treatment. Surface water especially that obtained from a river may require completetreatment before it can be released for supply.Treatment of water comprises methods of water treatment which include: natural andartificial methods.

Controlling pollution by dilution is a natural way in rivers and stream water.Amount of sewage or polluting matter, which enters river or stream, gets diluted so much that itloses its bad effect on human health. Dilution is an important means of purification.Sedimentation is a physical treatment process used to reduce the turbidity of water. Boiling is thebest method to destroy all organisms and it makes water sterile but this method is not alwayspractical in large scale purification. Adding alum or aluminum sulphate is the most commonused coagulant. They are cheap, readily available and non-corrosive. Chemical disinfection isaimed at killing pathogenic organisms in the water; the most common form of chemicaldisinfection is chlorination.

Filtration is quite an important stage in water purification ortreatment because 98-99 per cent of the bacterial are removed by filtration apart from otherimpurities. Sunder (2010) asserted that the objective of filtration is to make water safe byremoving pathogenic organism.Safe water is one that is free from pathogenic microorganisms, toxic substances andexcessive amount of minerals which could produce undesirable physiological effects. Dhaar andRobbani (2008) stated that drinking water must be safe for the consumers as well as acceptableto them.

Water which fails to meet the safety and acceptability criteria is regarded as unsafewater. Unsafe water is one which contains harmful microorganism and substances, possessescolour, odour or taste due to dissolved minerals. All communities have some access to water, butthe safety of the water they consume is less often assured. In areas where there may be unsafe water, women play the major role of domestic water management. In these areas women aretypically responsible for collecting, storing, purification, sanitation and hygiene practices.Bathia and Fakemark (2006) however, pointed that the easier and less time consuming infetching water the more likely the aged women adopt in hauling or treating water and hygienepractices.Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of humancontact with the hazards of wastes. Lucas and Giles (2007) pointed that hazard can be eitherphysical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease.

The key to man’s health lieslargely in his environment. Safe sanitation promotes health, improves the quality of theenvironment and thus, the quality of life in a community.Grey (2002) viewed sanitation as the hygienic disposal or recycling of waste materials,particularly human excreta. He further maintained that sanitation is an important public healthmeasure, which is essential for the prevention of disease. International Water and Sanitation(2004) posited that sanitation refers to the facilities and hygienic principles and practices relatedto the safe collection, reuse and or disposal of human excreta and domestic waste water. Victorand Ernest (2007) opined that sanitation refers to the maintenance of hygienic conditions,through services such as garbage collection and waste disposal.

The term sanitation can be applied to a specific aspect, concept, location or strategy suchas basic sanitation. Basic means necessary and important to all people e.g. basic human rights.Therefore, basic sanitation refers to the management of human faeces at the household level.This terminology is the indicator used to describe the target of the Millennium DevelopmentGoal on Sanitation. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation isto halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinkingwater and basic sanitation.

The United Nations Millennium Project (2008) defined basicsanitation as access to and use of excreta and waste water facilities and services that provideprivacy and dignity while at the same time ensuring a clean and healthful living environmentboth at home and in the immediate neighbourhood of users.Access to sanitation means the availability of a hygienic facility to human excretadisposal within a convenient distance from the user’s dwelling i.e not too far away to discourageits use. The technology selected should give the user the highest service level that is willing andable to pay and at the same time has capacity to maintain (UNICEF, 1999).

The Millennium Project Task Force (2004) maintain that basic sanitation is the lowest-cost option for securingsustainable access to safety hygienic and convenient facilities and services for excreta andsullage disposal that provide privacy and dignity while ensuring a clean and healthful livingenvironment both at home and in the neighbourhood of users. National Sanitation Task Team(2002) asserted that sanitation means collecting and disposing in a hygienic manner, of waste,including human excreta, household waste, water and rubbish, if this is not done, neighbourhoodbecome dirty and people get sick. In the context of this study b



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