Socio–economic benefits and pollution levels of water resources, Pece Wetland, Gulu Municipality - Uganda
Communities are dependent on wetlands resources for income generation. However, anthropogenic activities that result into pollution of water are one of the major public health problems. Assessment of socio–economic activities and pollution levels of domestic water sources in Gulu Municipality, Pece wetland was done. The technique for socio–economic data collection was an exploratory method using transect walk along the wetland. Questionnaires and interviews were used. Domestic water sources around the wetland were sampled and analyzed according to APHA (1992). The major activities in the wetland were edge gardening, waste disposal, petty business center called ‘Owino’ market, water collection for sale, livestock grazing, agro–forestry, brick laying, papyrus harvesting and vehicle washing. The climax of some of the activities was affected by seasons. Over all, the activities contributed to > 50% of the monthly income of the respondents. A section of the wetland seems to be sacrificed for socio–economic activities due to the prevailing insecurity as evidenced in the unclear coordination and monitoring plan for conservation of the wetland. Temperature was not significantly different (p = 0.672) and pH was significantly different (p = 0.000). The values ranged from 23.4 to 26.0°C and 5.37 to 5.83 for all the water sources respectively. There was significant difference (p = 0.00 and p = 0.03) in EC and TSS that ranged from 52 to 330 μScm-1 and 0.89 to 2.93 mgL-1 respectively. Spring water had higher EC and TSS than the boreholes. Faecal coliforms ranged from 14 to 50 CFU/100 ml and was significantly higher (p = 0.006) for the spring water than the boreholes. The chloride ion concentration was significantly different (p = 0.000) in the water sources and ranged from 89.2 to 331.1 mgL-1. The correlation for faecal coliforms and chloride ions was positive (r = 0.3577). The domestic water sources were contaminated, although the assumption in the community is that, boreholes are clean and safe. The communities should be sensitized to treat water before drinking. This could reduce the chances of infection by the pathogenic organisms.
Key words: Benefits, pollution, water sources, wetlands, socio–economics.