Loughborough University
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Systematic risk assessment of self-supply systems in households: a case study of Asaba in Nigeria

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posted on 2021-10-12, 09:24 authored by Angela Akpovi

In many cities where access to formal water supply system is inadequate, people depend on Self-supply for household domestic needs and drinking. Self-supply describes a system whereby individuals provide water for their households using personal resources and affordable technology. Self-supply is not usually recognised by government authorities, and the water is often consumed unregulated and untreated. Without any form of prior water treatment, there is a high risk of contracting water borne diseases and possible death from drinking contaminated water. Asaba metropolis in Nigeria, is one of such cities where Self-supply is the major source of domestic water supply through borehole technology. This thesis has undertaken a risk assessment of Self-supply borehole water in households and recommends strategies to reduce risks using the Self-Supply Continuous Improvement Plan (SCIP). The SCIP presents a systematic risk assessment strategy designed and adapted from the World Health Organisation’s Water Safety Planning for Small community water supplies. Through the SCIP, the research was designed, and the data collected and analysed. The findings reveal that more than half of surveyed boreholes were rated as high and medium risk due to their proximity to onsite septic tanks and the presence of other environmental contaminants. The focus group discussions revealed the effect on gender. Men in their role as Self-supply water providers are overburdened with the financial obligation of providing water for their households and its safe management. As the main users, women expressed feelings of frustration, annoyance, and anxiety due to unreliability and inconsistencies experienced in the use of household Self-supply. Considering the source to the point-of-use approach of Water Safety Plans, and the unique household characteristics of households in Asaba, households are challenged by inadequate hygienic standards, poor siting conditions of Self-supply boreholes, and lack of government support for households. This research suggests that households can take the lead ahead of government in risk assessment to achieve safe water as a starting point. This research further suggests that the government departments for water supply monitoring in urban areas in Asaba should have the foremost responsibility in supporting private households in monitoring and implementing risk assessment strategies in Self-supply systems.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


Loughborough University

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© Angela Akpovi

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A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Sam Kayaga ; Ian Smout ; Mike Smith

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  • PhD

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  • Doctoral

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