1. Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension Management
2. Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
In spite of covering about 1% of the total land surface, inland waters are habitat to about 100,000 aquatic species, including 10, 000, or 40% of all fish species (FAO, 1997). Ever increasing human population places a direct pressure on the limited resources through increasing demand to meet the basic needs (e.g., domestic, drinking and agriculture). In Africa a large proportion of both rural and urban population live in the vicinity of inland or coastal waters. This trend may be explained by the fact that traditional human populations have tended to settle close to natural waters because they offer man’s greatest hopes for food and material supplies.
Leveque and Mounolou (2003) reported that over large parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, freshwater fisheries are a crucially important resource for poor rural families. Fish is rich in protein and minerals and are highly valued. Fish are also rich in healthy unsaturated fatty acids that play an important role in the development of bones, nervous system, and brain in children.
The purpose of aquatic environmental assessment is ultimately the maintenance of biological integrity because fish needs certain optimum conditions for feeding, breeding, respirations, growth and movement.
Water conditions that are less than optimal cause slower growth, lower survival and increased incidence of diseases (Onuoha, 1991; Iles, 2009).The effects of various physicochemical constituents of water on the biota are well known; The correlation among the parameters (Ude and Nwani, 2009), the effects of dissolved oxygen deficiency on fish (Ugwu and Mgbenka, 2006), pH and salinity(Burtner et al., 1993), temperature (Watson and Chapman, 2002; Ritcher et al., 1987), Metals(Davies et al., 1978), nitrates, nitrites and phosphorus(Ude et al., 2011).
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for heavy metals and other constituents in drinking water (EPA, 2003) are presented below as a guide for assuming the quality of different water sources within the Local Government. These are as follows: pH: 6.5 – 8.5; Conductivity: lms/L; Arsenal: 0.05mg/L; Copper: 1.30mg/L; Iron: 0.30mg/L; Lead: 0.000mg/L; TDS: 500mg/L; Manganese: 0.05mg/L; Sulphate: 250mg/L; Nitrate: 10mg/L; Hardness: 0 to 17.10 (soft hardness), 17. 10 to 60mg/L or ppm (slightly hard), 60 to 120 mg/L (Moderately hard), 120 to 180mg/L (hard), 180 and over mg/L 180 (very hard).
At the moment there is dearth of information on the physicochemical parameters of inland waters of Ebonyi North zone which is the economic hub of Ebonyi State, and their implications on fisheries and aquaculture development. This work aims at analyzing different inland water systems and generates data on their status for use in enhancing both capture and culture fish production.
The water parameters analyzed were pH, conductivity, hardness, and total dissolved solids (TDS), as well as the chemical elements.
Materials and Methods
The study area: The study was carried out at Ebonyi North geopolitical zone. It is located between latitude 060 21′ N and longitude 080 51′ E. The annual rainfall ranges from 1500 to 1800mm with a temperature range from 210 to 300C (Ofomata, 1975).
Water samples were collected during the dry season and analyzed using standard water analytical methods as prescribed in APHA (1999). The parameters measured were pH, conductivity, hardness, and total dissolved solids (TDS), as well as the chemical elements.
Quality Criteria for Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA#440/5-86-001, 1986.