High fluoride drinking water in Gokwe, northwest Zimbabwe

A. Mamuse, Ron Watkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    © IWA Publishing 2016. More than 200 million people worldwide are exposed to excessive fluoride in drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, the optimal concentration range of fluoride in drinking water is 0.5 to 1.5 mg/L. Above this range, populations may contract dental fluorosis or, in severe cases, crippling skeletal fluorosis. In the Gokwe area in NW Zimbabwe, where drinking water contains up to 11 mg/L fluoride, fluorosis prevalence has previously been estimated at 62%. This paper investigates the water quality of 126 water sources in Gokwe (58 pumped boreholes, 15 flowing artesian boreholes, 46 wells and 7 streams). The water chemistry, determined from high performance ion chromatography and field measurements, showed that the water source types exhibit significantly different (P1.5 mg/L, indicating that fluoride contamination in the area is a characteristic of deeper groundwater, possibly due to its interactions with the potentially fluoridic coaly and carbonaceous materials of the Lower Karoo Aquifer at depth. The plausibility of providing alternative low fluoride water, and defluoridation, should be investigated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-64
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


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