Implications of Household (Domestic) Use of Hard water on Molepolole Residents
Implications of Household (Domestic)
Use of Hard water on Molepolole
Author: Koketso Kanekane | SOC 442 Data Analysis
and Report Writing [Lecturer: Dr Gabriel Faimau]
University of Botswana, Department of Sociology
BAH 220 | May 9, 2016
The survey acknowledges all the participants of the survey, Molepolole residents for their
assistance and hospitality. This study also benefited from the comments of the course
lecturer Dr Gabriel Faimau from the Department of Sociology and from the Sociology 441
colleagues during two focus group discussions, it also benefited from internet sources.
The study was self-sponsored by Principal Investigator, Koketso Kanekane and facilitated
by the Department of Sociology (Dr. Gabriel Faimau).
Introductory, Background to the study..............................................................................3
Statement of the Problem................................................................................................. 5
Significance of the study ................................................................................................. 7
Research Aim/ Objectives and questions........................................................................8
Findings, analysis and discussion ....................................................................................11
Conclusion and Recommendations ............................................................................... 22
Consent Form ............................................................................................................ 27
Water is a necessity of life and to an extent a human right. Safe water contributes of
effective and healthy life for all. This study brings to light and describes the implications
of the use of hard water by Molepolole residents on household basis. The results will be
used to advocate for a need of a water treatment plant in the village. The study discovered
and documented data on the little given attention effects of the household day to day use
of hard water, a questionnaire and desktop research were used to collect data about
residents awareness on the difference of the water used in Molepolole to that used
elsewhere, their satisfaction toward it, their use for the water, effects of the water on their
health and on household appliances and about the action they undertook against the water.
The study shows that Molepolole residents are aware of the difference in the water used in
their locality to that used in other localities. They are not satisfied with the quality of the
water used in their locality, especially with the water taste than they are with water color,
despite their dissatisfaction with the water quality, the residents still use the hard water in
their locality which affects children under the age of 12 and also causes clogging of
household appliances through its lime scale build up. The study also shows that the
residents determined they are to get safe water even if it means enduring costs to deal with
the hard water they use and its effects. Following an in depth multi-dimensional analysis
of research results, some there is a need for a water treatment plant in Molepolole which
will ensure safe soft water for the residents to use, ultimately improving the resident’s
Keywords: Hard water, Household, Effects, Use
Introductory, Background to the study
In a world that faces increasing challenges of water scarcity1, the optimum use of all
available resources becomes critical and with the increasing competition for fresh water;
1 The population is growing rapidly, putting more pressure on our water supply sources (demand is
increasing); and some: believe that fresh water will be a critical limiting resource for many regions in the
near future, (Botswana Water Statistics , 2009) argues that water resources problem is seen as a potential
many communities in water scarce countries use underground water which is at times hard
and saline for household needs and irrigation. (Molden, 2007) contends that use of saline
and sodic drainage water and hard underground water varies greatly among countries. In
small rural communities, water is often scarce or contaminated2. (UNICEF and World
Health Organization, 2012) argues that while coverage of improved water supply sources
is 90 percent (%) or more in Latin America, the Caribbean, Northern Africa and large parts
of Asia, it is only 61% in sub-Saharan Africa. According to (Plessis & Rowntree, 2003),
Botswana suffers from a lack of surface water and therefore development relies heavily on
underground water. Underground water resources can be found almost everywhere in the
region and is the main source for most of Botswana’s towns and smaller settlements and
are essential to many individuals, companies and communities to supply water for drinking,
agriculture and industry. (Botswana Water Statistics , 2009) contends that underground
water is the main source of portable water supply in Botswana. Much of the Country, about
66 % depends entirely on underground water.
At the current rates of abstraction, the lifetime of surface and underground resources is
limited to decades. Major issues are the rate of underground replenishment relative to the
rate of extraction, and its quality. The Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP)3 report had
warned of a deterioration in the quality of groundwater as a result of over-exploitation. It
said “There is every possibility that the reported fall in the quality of water at Plachimada4
could have occurred because of extraction by Coca cola Company in the area” in
(Krishnakumar, 2003). Underground water recharge is very limited, thus making the
resource finite and non-renewable. The State Groundwater Department in 2003, had
reported a depletion in the level and a deterioration in the quality of groundwater in some
of the open wells at Plachimada, asserts (Krishnakumar, 2003). Accordingly, Botswana’s
access to drinking water had at 2001 reached 99.5% for urban areas and 83.5 for rural areas
(Central Statistics Office, 2009) as quoted by (Botswana Water Sector Policy Brief, 2012,
limit to development and a stress on population and economic growth.Africa’s water resources are threatened
by the increasing population trends which result in increase in water demand by various users.
2 More at http://www.lenntech.com/small-community-water-supplies.htm Accessed 8April 2016
3 A group of well-known environmentalists
4 Plachimada is a little hamlet in Palakkad District, Southern India.
p. 2). Most rural areas in Botswana are supplied with borehole water while nearly all the
urban centers are supplied with surface water. Of all the major villages in Botswana,
Molepolole5 has the highest consumption with over 9,000m3/day6. Molepolole village is
supplied with water by six boreholes near Malwelwe village and Botlhapatlou Wellfield
according to (Moeng, 2013), this supply serves as a short term intervention expected to
exponentially alleviate the water shortage in the village. With the ever growing demand for
water by growing populations worldwide, it makes sense to try to find more uses for the
abundant underground hard water and saline water supplies that exist, mainly in the oceans.
(Water Research Foundation, 2014) In addition to making sure the water at customers' taps
is safe to drink, water providers must also meet customer expectations for the water's
aesthetic characteristics—its taste, odor, and appearance. Although most contaminants that
cause aesthetic problems in drinking water are not considered a threat to human health,
unpleasant tastes and odors are the most common cause of customer complaints, and they
often play a role when customers choose alternative supplies such as bottled water.
Statement of the Problem
Human health depends on the quality of our immediate surroundings, in which water
services and management play a significant role. Water essentiality ranges from its
importance in the cultivation of plants and food production to providing the necessary
environment for metabolism activities and regulating body temperature; preserving the
ideal temperature (36.5-37°C). (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme,
2015) argues that providing safe water services and managing water resources wisely
improves health and opens opportunities for education and capacity building for all.
Recently, with regards to Millennium Development Goals; particularly Goal number seven
(7)7, it has been reported that progress is better regarding the availability of improved
drinking water sources “Over 2 billion people gained access to improved 8water sources
from 1990 to 2010 (UNICEF and World Health Organization, 2012, p. 4)”. United Nations
5 The most populous village in Botswana according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census with an
estimated population of over 63,000.
6 See Figure 2: Water demand and losses in major villages according to Central Statistics Office,2009 from
(Botswana Water Sector Policy Brief, 2012)
7 Ensure environmental sustainability
8 drinking water sources,such as piped supplies and protected wells
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the (UNICEF Joint press release, 2012) “Today
we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world. This is one of the first MDG
targets to be met. The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a
testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the
lives of millions of the poorest people.” While this tremendous achievement should be
applauded, a great deal of work still remains9; Molepolole residents are unable or cannot
afford safe drinking water. Most water used is hard water from boreholes; according to
(Aqualogic (Pty) Ltd , 2012), there are no surface water resources in the area and
underground water is the only source supplying Molepolole, Thamaga, Thebephatshwa,
BDF camp and neighboring localities.
Underground water is often times perceived safe, free from the very minute organisms
which cause diseases and fresh for use and well protected by layers of soil and sediments,
which would ultimately through the natural process of sedimentation treat the water. In
agreement with this, (Howard, et al., 2004, p. 3) argues that “aquifers are well protected by
layers of soil and sediment, which effectively filter rainwater as it percolates though them,
thus removing particles, pathogenic microorganisms and many chemical constituents.
Therefore it is generally assumed to be a relatively safe drinking-water source.” However,
it is not always the case that the water is safe; underground water sources can also become
contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals that can lead to sickness and
disease10. “Unfortunately it becomes chemically contaminated by pesticides, herbicides
and fertilizers which have been a boom to the world farmers, but a bomb to the earth’s
water (Ukpong & Okon, 2013, p. 78)”.
Some of the production boreholes as reported by (Aqualogic (Pty) Ltd , 2012) have been
experiencing operational and construction problems such as decline in yield, silting and
bacterial infestation which may consequently contaminate the water. The contaminants
may cause the water to appear cloudy or colored, or to taste or smell bad. This may cause
a great number of people to stop using water from their public water system even though
9 The proportion of the global population still using unimproved sources estimated at only 11 per cent see
Figure 1 (UNICEF and World Health Organization, 2012).
10 see http://www.cdc.gov/features/undergroundawareness/Accessed November14, 2015
the water is perceived safe to drink11. Such water is risky to human health; if the
contaminants present in the water are at levels above standards set by Botswana Bureau of
Standards (BOBS), it causes unpleasant tastes and odors, water-related illnesses such as
diarrhea and ultimately deaths, health and other costs that can claim much of the household
income when customers choose alternative supplies of water. It must be noticed that
acceptable contaminant levels vary widely among individuals, “for example, high sodium,
which may be harmless for many people, but can be dangerous for elderly, hypertensive
persons, pregnant women, and people having difficulty in excreting sodium (Botswana
Water Statistics , 2009, p. 7)”. In cases of contaminated water, water providers must meet
customer expectations for the water's aesthetic characteristics of its taste, odor, and
appearance in addition to making sure the water at customers' taps is safe to drink asserts
(Water Research Foundation, 2014) but customer complaints are still rampant. The
intension of the study was to bring to surface the implications of the day to day use of hard
water by households in Molepolole, and use the results to voice for the need of a water
treatment plant in the village.
Significance of the study
Reliable, safe drinking water is essential not only to lower the incidence of many diseases
but also increase the capacities to combat other diseases, keep healthy and productive.
(United Nations Development Programme, 2006) argues that water pervades all aspects of
human development. When people are denied access to clean water at home or when they
lack access to water as a productive resource their choices and freedoms are constrained
by ill health, poverty and vulnerability. Water gives life to everything, including human
development and human freedom. As the UN Secretary General has put it (United Nations
Development Programme, 2006, p. 4), “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need
and, therefore, a basic human right” and the idea of water as a human right reflects the
11 (Aqualogic (Pty) Ltd , 2012); Water quality assessment in the study area [most of the eastern half of the
Kweneng District] previously performed by BRGM (DGS, 1991) led to the conclusions that:
• The underground water in all the boreholes in the study area is of potable quality. No noticeable changes of
quality had been measured in the previous years.
• The TDS concentrations fall within the desirable Botswana guidelines, with a median of 470mg/l.
• Except calcium, which exceeds the desirable guidelines, all the parameters are within the acceptable limits
of World Health Organization (WHO).
underlying concerns of high levels of avoidable child death or poverty. It is with the
concern of this study to illuminate and describe the implications of the use of hard water
on household basis and advocate for a need of a water treatment plant in the village from
the results of the study; given the available resources12 to accommodate such
developments. Using the theory of reasoned action, (Raditloaneng, 2012) argues that the
capacity to act rationally by those with power to provide public goods and services is under
siege if reason cannot prevail in ensuring continued access to safe drinking water in
Molepolole, one of the biggest villages with a high population.
Research Aim/ Objectives and questions
To find out the awareness of any difference in the water used in the
locality from the water use elsewhere
To identify the different uses of water in Molepolole and awareness of the
consequences of the use of the water
To examine the implications (effects) of the use of such water on the
To find out the measures put in place to mitigate the implications and
evaluations of measures in monetary terms
To evaluate the household cover cost of all actions put in place against
hard water effects
What is the state of awareness of the difference in the water used in
Molepolole to that used elsewhere
What are the uses that water is put to in Molepolole
What is state of awareness about the safety or consequences of the use of
What are the effects of the use of such water on the households
What measures have been put in place to mitigate the implications
12 According to (Frankson , 2014), Government has availed a budget of P470 million for drought mitigation
projects, including the upgrading and refurbishment of boreholes and the expansion of treatment plant
capacity said the President of the Republic of Botswana Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama at 2015
State of the Nation Address.
Research Approach: The approach to the study is Quantitative approach “based on some
intervention or treatment, with a clear outcome variables in mind (Punch, 2006)”; it aims
at examining the implications of the home use of hard water on Molepolole residents.
Generalizations will be made from the sample meanings and presented in statistical form.
Research Design: This study is a solution-driven research; applied research13 and follows
a descriptive research design. Descriptive research in such a manner that it will be used to
obtain information concerning the use hard water and to describe the implications of such
water on Molepolole residents with respect to household use of such water. The study is a
survey; in accordance with (Trochim, 2006), survey research is one of the most important
areas of measurement in applied social research. Survey research offers consistency and in
obedience with (Blackstone, 2015) recognizes that survey research is a reliable method of
inquiry; this is because surveys are standardized in that the same questions, phrased in
exactly the same way, are posed to participants.
Methods of data collection: From survey research’s characteristic of encompassing any
measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents; the study employed
questionnaires and desktop research to collect data. The questionnaire distributed was close
ended and self-administer, with a few open ended questions14. Closed ended questionnaire
limited the respondents to stated alternatives whereas open ended questionnaire allowed
the respondent to express their views and ideas to capture all data, in harmony with this,
(Neuman W. L., 2014, p. 204) “yet something important could be lost when an individual’
beliefs and feelings are forced into fixed-answer categories”. Survey interviews were
conducted concerning those who were illiterate. In survey interviews, the questionnaires
were rigidly structured, the questions were all be asked in the same order, the same way,
and only the pre-defined answer choices were given15.
13 Applied research refers to scientific study and research that seeks to solve practical problems. Applied
research is used to find solutions to everyday problems
http://psychology.about.com/od/aindex/g/appres.htmAccessed November15, 2015
14 To accommodate various questions requiring various responses because some questions are practical and
others are not.
15 In peace with what Ashley Crossman, Sociology Expert asserted in
http://sociology.about.com/od/Research-Methods/a/Interviews.htmAccessed November 15, 2015
Data was also collected from existing statistics, what (Neuman W. L., 2014) referred to as
secondary survey data and argued that “in it you reanalyse previously collected survey or
similar data that another researcher has gathered” page 273. Secondary data was relatively
cheap and saved time, permitted comparisons across different groups for analysis and
importantly allowed asking about issues not addressed by original researchers and to
answer new questions which were missed during the survey.
Sampling and sample size: The sampling model employed was Cluster sampling and
Molepolole with an estimated population of over 63,000; a geographically large area with
a dispersed population, it would have been expensive to survey the entire locality, so a
single ward within the village as a cluster was surveyed. A single ward16 ‘Kgotla’of Goo-
Ratshosa17 was used as a cluster and households were selected from the cluster to represent
the entire population. The sample was 37 households from Goo-Ratshosa which all stood
an equal chance to be chosen. The survey was carried out during the day from 08:00am to
16:00pm; this was the convenient time for the researcher and since most people in rural or
urbanized rural areas are not active workers, this was a perfect to find people in the homes.
Data Analysis Techniques: In analyzing the responses of the participants, the following
steps of data validation, response partitioning, coding, standard analysis, ordinal and
nominal data were employed. These steps for analysis allowed for precise handling of the
data ultimately accurate interpretation of the results. Data Validation ensured that the
questionnaires were completed eventually presenting consistency of the data; questions
that were not answered by most respondents were not be included in the data18. Response
Partitioning as in sub-grouping of same responses made data analysis faster and easier.
Data was coded when designing the questionnaire “Precoding defined as to place the code
categories (1 for male, 2 for female) on the questionnaire (Neuman W. L., 2014, p. 282)”
and before electronic filing with the help of a codebook; in this way, it allowed statistical
packages “analysis” to be used to handle and analyze the data accurately. Open-ended
16 The ward is a small-scale representation of the total population; ideally heterogeneous consisting ofthe
elderly, middle-aged, youth and the children.
17 Goo-Ratshosa is the populous and famous ward in Molepolole and the center of the village
18 However, in the case of incomplete questionnaires,the actual number of respondents that were able to
answer a particular question will be counted; will be the same for the rest of the questions
https://explorable.com/handling-survey-dataAccessed November 16, 2015
questions were more difficult to code for the computer; human expertise came in play and
several experts were asked to code the responses in order to minimize bias. Standard Data
Analysis included computing for the proportion of variables and standard errors. Analyzed
data were Ordinal and Nominal Data; data in the form of numbers which was easily handled
and analyzed using statistical equations. Data was organized and presented in charts and
tables and eventually used to answer research questions with the help of existing data in
publication on the internet and help of theories to analyze and give the results meaning19.
Limitations of the study: The survey was inflexible with regards to that the researcher
could only ask fixed number of questions of topic, stuck with a single primary instrument
for collecting data (the questionnaire), more limiting the close ended questionnaire.
Validity was a problem with the questionnaire, as the questions were standardized; made
it difficult to ask anything other than very general questions that a broad range of people
could understand. Secondary data as a form of data collection was limiting, and as noted
by (Neuman W. L., 2014), a problem in finding the appropriate units of analysis, problems
of validity which occurs when theoretical definition does not match the existing one and
problems in reliability were encountered, because of the changes in the methods of data
collection and definitions over time20. Another observed limitation of the study in
Molepolole was that during the survey during the day, most people found in homes were
the elders who are illiterate. Questionnaires which were supposed to be self-administered
had to be read out to them and answered on their behalf which was time consuming.
Findings, analysis and discussion
Water in Molepolole different from that in other localities
The study shows that 81.1% of the respondents are aware of the difference in the water
used in Molepolole from that used elsewhere whereas 19% are not aware of any difference.
19 “The facts cannot speakfor themselves. A researcher must return to their theory (i.e., concepts,
relationships among concepts,assumptions,theoretical definition) and give the results meaning (Neuman
W. L., 2014, p. 307)”
20See (Neuman W. L., 2014, pp. 274-278)“existing data are inappropriate for the research question, lack of
sufficient understanding of the substantive topic; because the data is easily accessible anyone who knows
little about a topic could make erroneous assumptions orfalse interpretations about results fromit and missing
data that could have been lost or never collected.”
This finding is in contradiction with the (Abrahams, 2011) survey report where 389 persons
from all over France were asked distinguish between bottled water and tap water21, the
report in The Guardian Newspaper asserts that “most consumers cannot distinguish
between bottled water and tap water when the latter is chlorine-free, with only 36% of the
subjects being able to distinguish between tap water and bottled water”. The study also
tells us that from the 76.6% of those aware of the difference feel that the water is worse
than the water used before and 16.7% feel it is much worse and only 6.7% feel it is about
the same. This supports the awareness of the residents of difference in the water used in
Molepolole. In agreement, (Sarkozi, 2014) “We used to take water from a well before. The
water tastes so much better now. You just can’t compare it” remarks of a villager in Kore,
Burkina Faso after the refurbishment of a water well. This shows that people can
differentiate water, from good to bad and otherwise.
Table 1: Residents satisfaction with the quality of the water used on household basis
Satisfaction with water quality
Quality % Satisfied % Not Satisfied Total
Water Taste 29 8 37
78.4% 21.6% 100%
Water Color 8 29 37
21.6% 78.4% 100%
Total 37 37 100%
Conditional distribution illustrated by (Table 1) for the residents satisfied with water color
quality is 78.4% whilst 21.6% are not satisfied with the water color and 21.6% are satisfied
with the water taste and 78% are not satisfied with the water taste22. The study used taste
and odor to measure quality because as by (Bart, 2006), the perception of odor or taste is a
key factor for product quality and usually derives from a combination of chemical
components. Similarly, (Lou, Lee, & Han, 2007) demonstrated that 54% of respondents
21 The tap water was from various regions of France, supplied by Lyonnaise des Eaux" and The bottled
waters were "chosen among the French bottled water available"
22 (Abrahams, 2011) maintains that the researchers identified what they call the “three main tastes of water”
that can be found if one swigs a great variety of bottled and tap waters. These are “the bitterness of poor
mineralized water, the neutral taste (associated with coolness)of water with medium mineralization and the
saltiness and astringency of highly mineralized water.”
did not drink tap water in their daily lives in Taiwan in the first survey or round, compared
to 67% of respondents in the second. In both surveys, the main reason that respondents did
not drink tap water was “the water sources are inappropriate” (45.2% and 41.8% in the first
and second rounds, respectively), and the second main reason was “Unpleasant mouth feel”
(32.2% and 38.2% in the first and second round, respectively), and only less than 20% of
respondents did not drink tap water because of health concerns. These above two findings
go beyond what (Mackey, et al., 2004) found in France, the results of the survey showed
that three-quarters of the population was satisfied with their water quality and the majority
was satisfied with their local water utility service. The survey showed that 72% claimed to
be satisfied with their drinking water quality, only 52% drank it at all and only 21% of the
sampled population consumed tap water regularly.
The survey shows that 72.9% of the respondents are satisfied with water for household use
and 27% are not satisfied; with 60% not satisfied and 40% not at all satisfied. In respect to
quality of water for household use; In Kentucky, (Kentucky Cooperative Extension
Service, 2001) maintains that hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from
laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard
water may look dingy, feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses washed in hard water
may become spotted as they dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors,
shower walls, and bathtubs. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull and
hard water also affects the performance of household appliances. (Mackey, et al., 2004)
contends that the degree of satisfaction depended on the use made of the water. In fact,
drinking water quality was characterized with the lowest average satisfaction and
organoleptic23 quality or criteria are commonly cited as the reason for concern and
23 Organoleptic is defined by (Bart, 2006) as “capable of being perceived by one or more sense organs”,
where the common senses are touch,hearing, smell, taste and sight.
Household day-to-day use of the water in Molepolole
Figure 1: illustratesthe household day-to-day use of the water
Figure 1 shows that from the sampled 37 households, (100%) 37 households use the water
to cook and wash clothes, (2.7%) 1 household do not use the water for bathing and (5.4%)
2 do not use the water for brushing their teeth, (81.1%) 30 household drink the water,
(59.4%) 22 households use the water to flush the toilet and (35.1%) 13 households water
their plants with the water. In the United States of America, for comparison, (Water
Research Foundation, 2016) in illustrating the water indoor per capita from the
REU2016 shows that toilet flushing was the largest indoor use of water per person on
average (14.2 gpcd, 24%) followed by showers (11.1 gpcd, 19%), kitchen and bathroom
faucets (11.1 gpcd, 19%), clothes washers (9.6 gpcd, 16%), leaks ( 7.9 gpcd, 14%),
other/miscellaneous (2.5 gpcd, 4%), bathtub (1.5, gpcd, 3%) and dishwashers (0.7, gpcd,
The implications (effects) of the use of hard water in households
The survey shows that about 62.1% of the respondents are aware of the consequences and
their safety from the use of hard water and 37.8% are not aware of the consequences. With
37 36 35
0 1 2
drinking cooking bathing brush teeth washing flush watering
HOUSEHOLD DAY-TO-DAY USE OF
Use Do not Use
regards to problems from the use of the water, it tells us that problems from the use of the
water were observed by 51.3% of the respondents whereas 48.6% did not observe any.
Effects on Human Health
Figure 2: Human health related cases from the use of the water
Figure 2 above demonstrates that diarrhea is the most common case with 14 cases, followed
by stomach ache and skin related with 3 cases each and vomiting with 2 cases. Diarrhea is
defined by Jay W.Marks, MD as an increase in the frequency of bowel movements, an
increase in the looseness of stool or both24. Diarrhea is the opposite of constipation, which
is medically defined as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less
than one stool per week25. Diarrhea cases are good for digestive health as it cleans the
human intestines, (Sengupta, 2013) argues that hard water has been considered as a boon
by many renowned scientists as it has some fantastic health benefits that seem to encourage
longer life expectancy and improved health. Magnesium salt represents with a laxative
effect which provides a rapid evacuation of intestine.
The diseases from the cases are prevalent among children below the age 12 with 82.3%
and 17.6% among adults aged 23-28.In peace with this, (World Health Organisation, 2013)
asserts that diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five
24 See more about diarrhea at http://www.medicinenet.com/diarrhea/article.htm Accessed 7 April 2016
25 More at http://www.medicinenet.com/constipation/article.htmAccessed7April2016
Illness Cases from the Use of the Water
years old, and is responsible for killing around 760 000 children every year. Diarrhea can
last several days, and can leave the body without the water and salts that are necessary for
survival26. In agreement, about 88% of diarrhea-associated deaths are attributable to unsafe
water, inadequate sanitation, and insufficient hygiene. Rotavirus is the leading cause of
acute diarrhea and causes about 40% of hospitalizations for diarrhea in children under 527.
(Sarkozi, 2014) asserts that in Burkina Faso thousands of children under 5 die from
preventable causes such as diarrhea, a leading killer of children in this West African nation.
“My children have been getting sick too often with diarrhea, stomach ache. Especially this
little one,” nudging at 2 year old Barage in her arms says a woman in Kore in an interview
with (Sarkozi, 2014).
Of the respondents who had health problems with the water, 57.1% have addressed their
illness and diagnosed by medical workers and 42.8% have not addressed their ill healths
on the basis that it is nothing serious and using personally known remedies. Ronny
Priefer28, in (Gault , 2015) says that hard water and health is a murky area of study. “There
is plenty of conflicting evidence in literature,” he says. “Some scientists say there are health
benefits; others say hard water harms health, and then there’s a group that claims no
effect.” From the finding of the 42.8% of the respondents who did not seek medical
attention, it supports the notion that hard water is not a health hazard.
Effects on household items
Of the working appliances in the households, 60 % of the respondents observed
dysfunctions in the appliances and 40% did not observe any dysfunction. According to
(Heidekamp & Lemley , 2005), hard water contributes to inefficient and costly operation
of water using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium
minerals that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances.
Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe
26 Most people who die from diarrhea actually die from severe dehydration and fluid loss.
27See more at
28 PhD, professorof medicinal chemistry at Western New England University in Springfield, MA
replacement. The survey shows in figure 4 below that 54% of the item dysfunctions were
clogged kettles, the most damaged item followed by 24.3% of blocked showerheads and
sinks, and 13.5% clogged irons and 2.7% each for clogged geyser, toilet and refrigerator
filters. This results show that hard water affects hot water appliances than appliances that
use room temperature water. (Copper Industries, 2016) argues the effect that lime scale has
on a small kettle is intensified on larger appliances such as washing machines and
dishwashers. The lime scale buildup can make them less energy efficient and lead to
appliances breaking down more frequently. When it builds up in pipes, it reduces pipe
diameter which means that pumps have to work just a little bit harder, increasing energy
use and shortening component life. Lime scale build up in a hot water cylinder occurs on
the heat exchanger, its deposits act as insulation, reducing the efficiency of heat transfer
surfaces; meaning the boiler has to fire more often to maintain water temperature which
can dramatically increase fuel bills.
This finding agree with (Browett, Pearce, & Willis, 2012) study, which found out that taps
were the most frequently replaced item in all communities in the Central Desert Region of
Australia, with the highest frequency of replacement occurring in Areyonga (LSI=1.34;
high hard water) at an average of three taps (2.97/house/year) being replaced in each house
every year. Shower roses had a comparatively high frequency of replacement in Yuendumu
(LSI=0.72; medium hard water) and Areyonga (LSI=1.34; high hard water) at
0.56/house/year and 0.66/house/year, respectively. Hot water systems were replaced most
frequently in Areyona and Kintore at an annual rate of 0.47 and 0.34 per house,
respectively. Yuendumu, Atitjere, Santa Teresa, and Finke had similar rates of replacement
ranging between 0.03 and 0.06/house/year.
Figure 3:illustratesclogged household appliances as a result of the use of the water
Of the damaged household appliances, 63.6% of them were repaired; 64.2% bearing the
costs of P50-100 whilst with 36.3% nothing was done; 75% of the not repaired appliances
were discarded. (Copper Industries, 2016) that argues that Lime scale build up in pipes,
boilers and appliances can prevent them from operating efficiently, which can lead to
higher energy bills and increased repairs. (Tihansky, 1974) report which distinguished
average vs modern urban residential costs of using the same quality water in the United
States of America; for these resident groups, the difference in per capita damages for the
extreme water quality case damages were $17.22 and $28.97 respectively.
Mitigation measures and their monetary evaluations
The shows that 36.8% of the respondents who observed problems from the use of the water
had resorted to buying bottled retail water, this is in accordance with (Lewis, 2015) who
states that even though tap water is considered safe for drinking29, people will sometimes
choose bottled water for its taste, extra purification and availability. Goes on to argue that
29 (Lewis, 2015) asserts that tap water contains more fluoride than bottled water does,fluoride is added by
municipalities to improve people’s bone and teeth health.
Kettle, 20, 54%
Iron, 5, 13%
Geyser, 1, 3%
Toilet pipes, 1, 3%
Sinks, 9, 24%
Clogged household appliances as a result of the
use of hard water Kettle
Showerheads and Sinks
the taste of tap water can be affected by the required decontamination processes, as the
chemicals commonly used, like chlorine and chloramine which can leave an aftertaste. In
some cases, the pipes in a house can also leave an aftertaste. Households spend an average
cost of P196.25 a month on bottled water. Parallel to this, (Boesler, 2013) maintains that
consumers in the United States of America spend an average cost of $1.22 per gallon,
spending 300 times the cost of tap water to drink bottled water30. Retail or bottled water
are closely monitored to follow the standards set by Botswana Bureau of Standards
(BOBS)31 and to ensure public safety and health.
In peace with this, (Suffet, Mallevialle, & Kawczynski, 1995) argues that the consumption
of bottled water has grown almost exponentially in the past ten years, fueled, in part, by
growing consumer dissatisfaction with water quality. (Hu, Morton, & Mahle, 2011)
reported that in the United States of America, over 13% of all respondents reported that
they used bottled water as the primary source for drinking water, while 45.4% of all
respondents said they often used bottled water for drinking. The mean for surface water
quality perception was 1.99 (fair), and the mean for ground water quality perception was
2.22 (slightly above fair), a little higher than that of surface water. About fifteen percent
respondents said they felt their home drinking water was not safe to drink. This percentage
corresponded well to the percentage of respondents that used bottled water as their primary
drinking source. While negative media attention often creates the perception that the public
is very skeptical about their drinking water safety, historical data suggests that the leading
cause of consumer dissatisfaction with tap water quality involves perception of chlorinous
taste and odor32. (Gorelick, et al., 2011) maintains that disparities in bottled water use are
driven largely by differences in beliefs and perceptions about water. Studies in the United
30 Bottled water: $346 per year, Tap water: 48 cents see more at more at
questions/index.htmAccessed 1 April 2016
31 The following are the BOBS compulsory standards for water but that are not prescribed underSIIR, BOS
32 : 2000 - WaterQuality for Drinking water Specification, BOS 143:20011 - Bottled water other than
natural water Specification, BOS 262:2011- Bottled natural water Specification: visit
bob&sp=46 Accessed 1 April 2016 for more
32 According to (Puget, Beno, Chabanet, Guichard, & Danguin, 2010) tap water consumers showed a higher
liking score for chlorinated solutions and were found to be more inclined to accept these solutions
as drinking water.
States have identified health risks and taste to be the most frequently cited factors, study in
Salt Lake City, Utah, found that of 3 choices of reasons for choosing bottled water, health
concerns about tap water and taste were the most commonly cited, In contrast, studies in
England, Quebec, Canada, and Portugal found that taste was the most important
consideration in choosing bottled water than health concerns.
The study shows that 26.3% of the respondents opted to buy water from private boreholes
bearing an average cost of P112.00 a month. Water from private boreholes is no guarantee
is safe and reliable, (Ukpong & Okon, 2013) t-test revealed that there was a difference
between the quality of the public and private borehole water supply sources in the
Uruan area, private borehole water supply in the area was not properly treated for human
consumption and other domestic purposes and not meeting the approved drinking water
standard33. The survey found out that 47.3% ask for water from neighboring villages
bearing an average cost of P233.33 a month. Equally, (Bachman, 2012) states that overall
70 % of respondents in Ohio, United States of America said it was important that water
remain local, while one-quarter said that they’d rather buy water from elsewhere if it were
less expensive. Connie Crockett (Bachman, 2012) said that the local water’s hardness is a
“perennial drawback” that costs homeowners a lot of money, while Springfield’s water,
one of the alternatives being considered for the Village to purchase in bulk, tastes great and
may cost less. According to (Mitter & Rowbotham, 1994) In Baldana, a dried up village in
India, villagers go to neighbouring village 8 kilometer away to ask for water.
The survey reveals that 15.7% of the respondents boil water before using, 57.8% did
nothing and 10.5% fetch rainwater. Not taking action response of 57.8% shows the
helplessness of the residents and continuous use of the water despite their dissatisfaction,
this can be a trait of convenience of public water and cost of buying water. This qualifies
with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (Talatala, 2008, p. 3) who
maintains that “while many people choose to drink bottled water, tap water is still
consumed at approximately 236,000 liters per day in the United States. (Ferrier, 2006),
factors that influence whether tap water is consumed as drinking water include
33 Ecoli ranged from 1x10^0 to 4x10^0 cfu/100ml
convenience, health and cost”. During the national survey in France, (Mackey, et al., 2004)
indicated that consumer perception of undesirable tastes and odors did not necessarily
result in dissatisfaction or distrust with tap water quality.
Pricey action against hard water
Figure 4: illustrates the average covercost of the action taken (medical attention,repairs and mitigation
measures) for hard water effects
Figure 4 shows that mitigation measures are costly with an average cost of BWP 180.53 a
month compared to an average cost of BWP 100.00 and BWP24.00 for repairs and medics
a month. Those who ask for water from neighboring villages bear higher costs with an
average cost of BWP 233.33 a month because water is bulky, and expensive to transport
relative to its value per unit of weight34; followed by buying bottled retail water with
BWP196.25 and buying private borehole water with an average BWP 112.00 a month.
34 (Hodges, Hansen , & McLeod, 2014) argues that variable cost for transportation of water also depends
upon distance conveyed,fuel costs for the tugboat,and the volume of the water.
0 50 100 150 200 250
Water from Neighboring Villages
Private Borehole water
Bottled retail water
PRICE IN (BWP) PULA
Average Cover Cost on Action taken for the
Mitigation measures Repairs Medicinal
The study shows that Molepolole residents can tell and are aware of the difference in the
water used in their locality to that used in other localities. As illustrated in Table 1, the
respondents are not satisfied with the quality of the water used in their locality, especially
with the water taste than they are with water color. Despite their dissatisfaction with the
water quality, people in Molepolole still use the hard water in their locality. Children under
the age of 12 are vulnerable than adults to illnesses like diarrhea, diarrhea illustrated in
Figure 2 as the common disease in Molepolole caused by hard water usage especially
consumption. Hard water also causes clogging of kettles, showerheads and sinks and irons
as demonstrated in Figure 3, this is because of the water’s lime scale buildup in the
appliances. The rationality35 of Molepolole residents is illustrated by Figure 4, which
shows how determined they are to get safe water, enduring costs to deal with the hard water
they use and its effects.
Based on the results of the study there is a need for a water treatment plant in Molepolole
which will ensure safe soft water for the residents to use, ultimately improving their socio-
economic life. In agreement, (Sarkozi, 2014) maintains that access to clean water is crucial
in preventing diarrhea and in the fight against poverty and disease.
35 Rational choice theory is the view that people behave as they do because they believe that performing
their chosen actions has more benefits than costs.
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Implications of the Household (Domestic) Use of Hard Water on Molepolole
Dumelang, my name is____________________________________. I am working on my
final project focusing on hard water usage and its implications on Molepolole residents
under the Department of Sociology, University of Botswana. Throughout this study, I wish
to find out more on how the water you use affects you on the household’s day to day
activities and use the results to voice or the need of water treatment plant in Molepolole.
The findings from this study will not be published but will most importantly serve as part
of my assessment and examination for a course tilted SOC 442 Data Analysis and Report
I am here to collect information related to this project. The information that you will share
will be kept confidential and will be used only for the purpose of the course. Your answers
may be used in the presentations but rest assured you will not be identified, whether by
name or anyhow.
Anonymity is guaranteed even though you will ask for the household members names but
if you are not comfortable with providing your names or of any other person it is still fine.
Your participation in the study is voluntary, if you choose to be part of the survey; you can
withdraw anytime you feel you do not want to continue and you may not or refuse to answer
questions you are not comfortable with. I, however hope you will participate in the study
since your input will assist in determining the effects of use of hard water by households
in Molepolole. The survey will take about 10 minutes.
Researcher Contact Details; Koketso Kanekane,
Cell Number: 71806382
Do you have any questions to ask me about the survey at this time?
If you agree to participate on the study;
Please Tick In the
1. I confirm that I have been informed and understand the purpose
of the above study and was given the opportunity to ask
2. I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I
am free to withdraw at any time, without prejudice
3. I agree to take part in the above study.
4. I agree to the methods that will be used to
collect (questionnaire and interviews)
5. I give permission for my words to be used
in a report but that my name will not be
mentioned in publications
Name of Participant Signature Date
Name of Researcher Signature Date
Time started: ______________________ Time finished:______________________
House number: ______________________
House Hold members:
Member1 Member2 Member3 Member4 Member5
(For Health condition, answer by: 1=Pregnant, 2=Chronic illness, 0=Fit)
How long is it since you came to stay here, in this village or urban location?
1= less than a year 2= 1-2 years 3= 2-5 years 4= 5-10 years 5= more than 10 years
Tick to answer the following:
1. Are you aware of any difference in the quality of the water used in your locality
from the water used elsewhere? Yes_____ No_____
2. Based on your awareness, is it better, the same, or worse than before?
Much Better____ Better ___ About the same___ Worse____ Much Worse____
3. Are you satisfied with the quality of water you use on household basis? With
Water colour Yes_____ No_____
Taste Yes_____ No_____
4. Are you satisfied with the quality of water you use on household basis? Yes___
5. If yes, how satisfied were you with the quality of the water?
Somewhat Satisfied ____
Very Satisfied ____
6. If no, how dissatisfied were you with the quality of the water?
Somewhat Satisfied ____
Not Satisfied ____
Not at all Satisfied ____
7. What do you on day to day basis use the water for in the house?
I. Indicate each use of the water or activity by the mark of [X]
Drinking Cooking Bathing Brushing teeth Washing Flushing the toilet Watering
8. Are you aware of consequences/ about the safety of the use of the water? Yes___
9. Any problems observed from the use of the water? Yes____ No____
i. Any observed signs of infections from the use of the water? Yes____
ii. What was the illness or problem? (more than one answer
1=Diarrhoea 2= Stomach
10. Others, (specify)
iii. Who has been mostly
affected_______________________________________ (Use house hold
member code, e.g.; member 5)
11. Have you addressed the above identified problems arising from the use of the
water? Yes____ No____
12. If yes, to who diagnosed the illness? _________________________
3= Self 4= Other HH
13. If no, what action did you take to find relief for your illness?
2= Did nothing,
5= Others (Specify)
14. How much in total did you spend in the past 4 weeks for all illnesses, including
for medicine, tests, consultation, & in-patient fees?
1= P10-20 2= P20-50 3= P50-80 4= P80-100 5= more than P100
Other (Specify) ___________________________________________________________
15. Has anyone had to stop their normal activities because of this (these) illness?
A. If Yes, for how many days_______________
1= a day 2= a day-two
5= four days-five
6=more than a
16. Has anyone else in the household had to stop their normal activities to care for
anyone? Yes___ No___
B. If Yes, for how many days___________________
1= a day 2= a day-two
5= four days-five
6=more than a
17. Household items that the use water in the house
I. Indicate by the mark of [X] the working items available in the house that
use the water
Geyser Dishwasher Washing
18. Any observed dysfunction to house hold items from the water use? Yes___No___
II. If Yes, indicate by the mark of [X] the form of dysfunction to the items
19. Have you repaired any of the damaged household items? Yes____ No_____
III. If yes, how much in total (estimated value) have you spent for household
item repairs? _______
1= 50-100 2= 100-150 3= 150-200 4= 20-250 5= 250-300 Other (Specify)
IV. If no, what action did you take in relation to the damaged household
1=did nothing 2=did nothing, no money 3=threw it away Other (Specify)
20. What measures have you put in place in the house to mitigate the problem?
Indicate by the mark [X] the measure you undertook (more than one answer
3=Ask for water from
21. If you answered 1, how much in total did you spend on buying retail water on an
average month? (estimated value) ___________________
22. If you answered 2, how much in total did you spend on buying borehole water on
an average month? (estimated value)____________________
23. If you answered 3, how much in total did you spend to travel to a neighboring
village for water on an average month? (estimate value)_____________________
Thank You, Have a Good Day.