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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


WANKE, H; UELAND, JS  and  HIPONDOKA, MHT. Spatial analysis of fluoride concentrations in drinking water and population at risk in Namibia. Water SA [online]. 2017, vol.43, n.3, pp.413-422. ISSN 1816-7950.

Namibia, the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, is largely reliant on groundwater for its potable water demand and groundwater is a major source of naturally-occurring fluoride. This study assessed the spatial distribution of fluoride in potable water and appraised the population at risk for high fluoride intake. Analysis of fluoride levels used existing databases that include 28 000 borehole locations across the country, while the population data were based on the 2011 Census. Spatial analysis and spatial statistics methods employed included Moran's I, local indicators of spatial association (LISA), basic Euclidian distance, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and spatial overlay in a GIS environment. Fluoride concentrations above the recommended limit of 1.5 mg/L occur in a fifth of the boreholes and as much as 8% of the population across the country is at risk. Although the number of people in Namibia who are exposed to high fluoride is relatively small at a global scale, it is significant at a national level. Preventative measures against high fluoride intake are thus necessary in the country.

Keywords : fluoride; potable water; groundwater; spatial analysis; Namibia.

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