The growing global population in a bid to solve the challenge of water shortage has resorted to groundwater and rainwater considering their benefits. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the quality of harvested rainwater and underground water (borehole) in Owerri-west in order to ascertain their portability in the light of WHO (2010) drinking water standard. Groundwater and rainwater samples were collected from Ihiagwa, Obinze and Nekede and analysed for physicochemical and microbial quality. These samples were analyzed using laboratory analytical techniques as recommended by World Health Organization and American Public Health Association. The result from the analysis showed that the Heterotrophic Bacterial Counts (cfu/ml) of water samples were BH (6.58%), Aluminum (11.84%), Zinc (19.74%), Asbestos (28.95%) and Thatched (32.89%). Out of the four bacteria (Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus epidermis) observed in all the water samples, Escherichia coli had the highest number of occurrence of 126(82.89) cfu/ml. All the physicochemical parameters analyzed conformed to the recommended standard value apart from pH value from borehole, and the rainwater sample from thatched roofing sheet with turbidity (10.3 NTU), objectionable taste and odour, and a general appearance that was not clear. The results observed showed the sequence of quality of groundwater and rainwater as Borehole > Aluminum > Zinc > Asbestos > Thatched. Generally, groundwater was more potable than harvested rainwater within the study area. This study however suggests that drinking water sources should be properly treated especially harvested rainwater prior to consumption using appropriate method in order to reduce the occurrence of waterborne disease.
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