- Natural groundwater is not necessarily safe for drinking.
- Fluoride concentration in groundwater sources ranged from 0.6 to 2 mg/L.
- High fluoride concentrations in groundwater in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
- 1.8% of boreholes in the study area have high fluoride concentration (>1.5 mg/L).
- 1.5% of population in the study area are exposed to high fluoride in drinking water.
Fluoride is an important chemical for human health. However, its deficiency or excess in the human body poses health problems. In Ghana, the geological formation in the Upper Regions exposes groundwater, the main source of drinking water to risk of excessive fluoride. The risk of population exposure to high fluoride is further increased by the consumption of large volumes of water due to the hot climate of the area. Based on a Risk Assessment and Risk Management (RARM) model to safe drinking water supply, this study assesses the extent of fluoride concentrations in drinking water sources in the Jirapa and Kassena-Nankana Municipalities of Ghana. A concurrent nested mixed method design, which emphasized quantitative data was adopted for the study. Data were gathered through household surveys with housekeepers, testing of fluoride levels in households’ drinking water sources and in-depth interviews with hydrogeologists from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA). From the results, fluoride concentrations in drinking water sources is generally moderate (0.7–1.5 mg/L). Only a few (1.4%) water samples, all from boreholes, exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO)/Ghana Standard Authority permissible limit of 1.5 mg/L. This implies that boreholes classified as improved water sources do not necessarily deliver safe water. In the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era where access to safely managed water is central to the achievement of target 6.1, we call on stakeholders in the water sector to assess and manage improved water sources with high fluoride levels.
*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352801X19300037