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Microbiological risk assessment and management of shallow groundwater sources in Lichinga, Mozambique

journal contribution
posted on 09.07.2013, 09:12 by Sam Godfrey, F. Timo, Michael SmithMichael Smith
The principal water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to ensure environmental sustainability by halving the proportion of people without access to safe water by 2015. Although great strides have been made in meeting this challenge since the year 2000, the safety of many of these water supplies remains unknown. Acknowledging the weaknesses of current water quality and hydrogeological means of assuring microbial safety, this paper has the objective of developing improved methods for the assessment and management of microbiological water safety based on a ‘risk’ paradigm. This paper provides evidence for the risk assessment of both conventional aquifer pathways and localised (short circuiting) pathways to 25 wells of three well technology types in Mozambique between 2002 and 2005. Findings from the research outline improve methods of risk assessment and management by demonstrating that (1) the predominant source of contamination was from animal faeces rather than from latrines/septic tanks, (2) short circuiting is a significant risk to shallow groundwater in developing countries, (3) the use of alternative indicator organisms (e.g. enterococci) may improve risk understanding and (4) the World Health Organisation Water Safety Plans are recommended as an appropriate method of risk management.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


GODFREY, S., TIMO, F. and SMITH, M.D., 2006. Microbiological risk assessment and management of shallow groundwater sources in Lichinga, Mozambique. Water and Environment Journal, 20 (3), pp.194-202.


Blackwell Publishing (© CIWEM)


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