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Assessment of spring water quality and quantity, and health implications in Tongaren division, Nzoia River catchment, Kenya


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Spring water is the common source of public water supply in most rural communities of developing countries such as Kenya. The water quality and quantity may be altered due to catchments degradation. This study was carried out in Tongaren division, Nzoia River catchment. The aim of this study was to investigate and map the occurrence and distribution of springs and to determine their water quality and quantity. This study determined the spring water discharge, conductivity, turbidity, total and thermotolerant (faecal) coliforms to assess suitability and sustainability of spring water for safe drinking. Twenty-eight springs were identified and their locations mapped using Global Positioning System (GPS) geo-reference data. Discharge ranged from 0.1 to 3 l s−1, with some drying up during dry season. Total coliform was innumerable in most of the studied springs while thermotolerant (faecal) coliform counts occurred in eight springs, including four protected springs. This poses high risks of water-borne diseases. The water should be filtered and boiled prior to use for drinking. Facilitation of communities enabled development of seven springs to enhance water yield and quality. This study established high potential in the communities to develop springs and utilize the spring water as alternative source of livelihoods.