Spatio-Seasonal Variations in Water Quality Status of Migori River in Kenya and Associated Household Health Risk Implications: An Application of a Multidimensional Water Quality Index Approach

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Taylor and Francis
Water quality monitoring is imperative in providing the objective evidence required to make sound decisions about water quality management. This study aimed to examine the water quality status of the Migori River by determining spatio-seasonal variations in water quality parameters, along with associated influencing factors and potential health risks. Therefore, eighteen physico-chemical and bacteriological variables were sampled and analyzed monthly for six months covering the wet and dry seasons from the upstream, midstream, and downstream stations, and a health risk survey was conducted with 90 watershed households. ANOVA and T-test were used to test for the significant spatial and seasonal variations (p<0.05), respectively; whereas Pearson’s correlation was used to identify relationships between parameters. Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) were used to find various spatial patterns in the river water quality datasets, while the Canadian Council of Ministries of the Environment Water Quality Index (CCMEWQI) showed the suitability status of the river water quality. The assessed variables showed significant seasonal variability but no significant spatial differences in the river. HCA generated 3 clusters suggesting that water quality deteriorated downstream from the upstream of the watershed. The PCA extracted four PCs explaining 80.5% of the total variance, which suggested that the variations in water quality are attributed to point and nonpoint sources of pollution. While most of the physico-chemical variables were within maximum permissible limits, the bacteriological levels exceeded the prescribed standards. The index ranked the river’s water condition between ‘poor’ to ‘marginal’; upstream has better water condition that gradually decreases toward the downstream, and water quality is better in the wet season than the dry season. The study revealed that the water of the Migori River is polluted and potentially hazardous for human usage, and thus suitable pollution control measures are urgently needed to safeguard public health
Stephen Balaka Opiyo, Godwin Opinde & Sammy Letema (2022) Spatio-seasonal variations in water quality status of Migori River in Kenya and associated household health risk implications: an application of a multidimensional water quality index approach, International Journal of River Basin Management, DOI: 10.1080/15715124.2022.2138409