Research Activities

SaWaFo Research

Activities needed to achieve the project objectives are categorized in seven Work Packages. The first work package focuses on Research management and capacity building. Details of the other work packages are as follows:

Project Management

This work package seeks to facilitate the achievement of SaWaFo‘s objectives by research capacity building and good management of the project.

The project will establish a Network of key institutions in Ghana, Tanzania and Denmark are being established. The project seeks to strengthen institutional capacities to conduct research on environmental and health hazards related to the use of low quality water in agricultural production by training of 7 Ph.D. students and 7 M.Sc. students.

The project will build the needed capacity to effectively disseminate and communicate research findings to the international scientific community as well as to end-users and the public in general. It is expected that a minimum of 20 scientific publications will be produced during the project lifetime.

Management Team:
Anders Permin - Denmark,
Torben Wilde Schou - Denmark,
Rejoice Selorm Ametepeh - Ghana,

Identification and characterization of chemical contaminants

Work Package 2 involves source mapping and collection of existing data to be used to identify, characterize and quantify the sources and types of chemical contaminants in the selected wastewater irrigated areas. Chemical contaminants to be considered include heavy metals and organic compounds (e.g., pesticides). Anthropogenic compounds, which include pharmaceuticals, hormones and endocrine disruptors, antimicrobials and antibiotics, and personal care products, are also considered. In summary, the work package will:

  • Identify the main sources of pharmaceuticals in low quality water used for irrigation
  • Characterize and quantify known and unknown degradation products
  • Uptake studies of pharmaceuticals/degradation products from irrigation water to plants

David Azanu - PhD Fellow,
Sijaona Cassian Msigala - PhD Fellow,
Christiana Mortey - MPhil Student,

Bjarne Styrishave - University of Copenhagen,
Dr. Godfred Darko - KNUST,

Identification and characterization of microbial contaminants

Work Package 3 will deal with the identification of the main sources of pathogens, mapping and quantification of pathogen concentrations to the extent possible at the selected field sites. This includes sources like hospitals, household wastewater (incl. faecal sludge), wastewater plants discharge, and animal sources (livestock; abattoirs). Also, Resistance of E. coli will be determined by growth on 3MTM PetrifilmTM Select E. coli plates containing concentrations (MIC) to 5-8 antimicrobials representing major classes of drugs. Broadly, the work package will:

  • Identify and map the main sources and estimate concentrations of pathogens in low quality water used for irrigation.
  • Characterize and quantify antimicrobial resistant bacteria and resistance genes on irrigated produce
  • Describe and assess faecal transmission pathways from irrigation water to produce sold at markets
  • Establish and test models for reducing pathogen transmission

Ofred Mhongole - PhD Fellow,
Basiga Florence - MPhil Student,
Salum Hassan Mkenga - MPhil Student,
Kwadwo Sarfo Marfo - MPhil Student,

Prof. Robinson Mdegela - SUA,
Prof. Lughano Kusiluka - SUA,
Prof. Anders Dalsgaard - UC,
Prof. R. C. Abaidoo - KNUST,
Anders Permin - DTU,
Prof. Anders Dalsgaard - UC,

Exposure of farmers and consumers to low quality water and their perceptions of associated benefits and risks

In Work Package 4, perceptions are used as an assessment tool for benefits and risks but also as a management tool for risks. A participatory approach is applied to assess perceptions on benefits and risks of using low quality water for food production by various key actors along the food chain (farmers, consumers, food vendors, food produce sellers, local authorities etc). The study will also find out interventions used by various key stakeholders to manage risks (human health, production-related and environmental), the basis of the interventions, perceived effectiveness and suitability of other interventions documented in literature and tested elsewhere like those implemented under the guidance of WHO. Broadly, the work package focuses on:

  • Perceptions on the use of low quality water for food production.
  • Risk management intervention practices and perceptions
  • Underlying factors influencing perceptions
  • Pilot testing of priority interventions

Winfrida Mayilla MolleL - PhD Fellow,
Shukrani Mdegela - Mphil Student,

Flemming Korandsen - UC,
Anders Permin - DTU,

Risk models and assessment of health hazards

SaWaFo will use the risk assessment and management approach for use of low quality water recommended in guidelines by the WHO. These guidelines follows the Stockholm Framework that is now applied to all decisions about drinking-water and sanitation interventions - rather than specifying the required quality of treated low quality water, as was done in the previous WHO guidelines. This work package seeks to:

  • Assess health risks associated with use of low quality water for irrigation at selected field sites
  • Identify and assess risk factors for skin problems among fieldworkers engaged in irrigation with low quality water
  • Establish models for pharmaceutical transmission

Emmanuel de-Graft Johnson Owusu-Ansah - PhD Fellow,
Angelina Sampson - MPhil Student,
Samuel Akomea - MPhil Student,

Dr Helena Ngowi - SUA,
Flavianus Magayane - SUA,
Tine Hald - DTU,
Anders Dalsgaard - UC,
Prof. Samuel Kwame Amponsah – KNUST,

Cost-benefits and policy analysis

The safe management of low quality water in agriculture is facilitated by appropriate policies, legislation, institutional frameworks and regulations at the international, national and local levels. An analysis of regulatory barriers will be undertaken at two levels. At national level the present policies on use of wastewater will be analyzed, weather low quality water is governed by legislation and institutional frameworks exists and regulations exist and is considered sufficient. Hence focus of this work package is on:

  • Description of regulatory barriers on the use of low quality water; research-based policy briefs
  • Development of cost-benefit analyses on the use of low quality water
  • Policy Research
  • Risk assessment models and means to reduce health risks for consumers and farmers

Owusu Amponsah - PhD Fellow,
Susana Samson - PhD Fellow,
Ethel Seiwaa Boateng - MPhil Student,

Prof. Imoro Braimah - KNUST,
Dr. Michael Poku-Boansi - KNUST,
Torben Wilde Schou - DHI,
Haken Vigre - DTU,

Communication and dissemination

Communication and dissemination of results locally, nationally, regionally and internationally has high priority in SaWaFo.

  • Disseminate research findings in scientific journals
  • Publish bi-annual Newsletter
  • Strengthen and establish contact with national, regional and international networks
  • Apply and use of research findings by end-users at different levels

Responsible Persons:
Management Team & Members of Work Packages