Water Supply in Tanzania and Performance of Local Plant Materials in Purification of Turbid Water
Abstract: Water supply services in urban and rural areas of Tanzania were reviewed and specific studies were carried out on water supply and on purification of turbid water sources using locally available plant materials in rural villages of Singida Rural District. The review showed that large proportions of urban and rural populations in Tanzania face acute water supply problems mainly due to poor planning, implementation and management of water supply projects, including an inability to address social, technical, operation and maintenance and financial issues. Laboratory-scale experiments studied the effectiveness of crude seed extracts (CSEs) and purified proteins of Vigna unguiculata (VUP), Parkinsonia aculeata (PAP) and Voandzeia subterranea (VS) seeds, which are used traditionally for clarification of turbid water. The VUP and PAP were purified from CSEs using simple and straightforward two-step ion exchange chromatography. The coagulant proteins are thermoresistant and have a wide pH range for coagulation activity. Coagulation of turbid waters with CSEs, VUP and PAP produced low sludge volumes and removed turbidity along with other inorganic contaminants in line with Tanzania drinking water quality standards. The PAP also showed antimicrobial effect against river water bacteria. Citrus fruit juice (CF) enhanced the coagulation of turbid water by CSEs and inhibited bacterial growth, rendering it useful for disinfection of water prior to drinking in rural areas. It was concluded that natural coagulants should not be regarded as a panacea for rural water supply problems, but rather a tool in the development of sustainable water supply services in Tanzania.
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