Assessment of potability of stored rainwater and impact of environmental conditions on its quality

  • C. C. NnajiEmail author
  • J. P. Nnam
Original Paper


Rainwater samples were collected from 25 rainwater harvesting tanks in Enugu-Ezike in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu state, Nigeria. The samples were analyzed for 18 physicochemical parameters and two (2) microbial parameters according to standard procedures. In addition, sanitary survey was carried out in 100 households in order to determine possible causes of rainwater contamination. About 72% of the tested samples violated the drinking water guidelines for pH, while other physicochemical parameters were well below the guidelines. Also, 76% and 48% of the samples tested positive to E. coli and Enterococcus spp., respectively. The water quality index results classified the rainwater samples as being of excellent physicochemical quality with an index of 96%. Principal component and hierarchical cluster analyses suggest that rainwater quality is influenced by interaction with atmospheric and terrestrial environments (component 1, 43.28%), impact of improper collection and abstraction method (component 2, 10.9%), contact and interaction with catchment (component 3, 10.12%) and impact of improper disposal of waste and poor environmental sanitation (component 4, 9.7% and component 5, 6.98%). Site-specific conditions that affect the quality of rainwater are open defecation, proximity of tank to septic tanks, manual abstraction and free-range rearing of animals. The results show that proper maintenance of the rainwater harvesting system, selection of appropriate catchment and storage materials and disinfection of stored rainwater can help to improve the quality of rainwater.


Contamination Drinking water Storage tank Roof Treatment 



We wish to acknowledge the households who allowed us to have access to their rainwater storage tanks.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and Built EnvironmentUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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