Monitoring Sustainability of Rural Water Supplies in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Expected start date:
    Expected end date:
    Project Status:
    Project Type:
    Project Manager :
    Mathew Kurian

    Project Overview

    In response to the global challenges of water scarcity and food and energy insecurity that have been recognized by the United Nations, UNU-FLORES signed three cooperation agreements with Ministry of Water and Irrigation, United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigatation and Water Development, Government of Malawi and The Government of the National State of Tigray, Water Resources Bureau, Ethiopia. The agreements formalized the establishment of Africa Points of Excellence (APE) research consortium with the objective of advancing data generation, collection and policy-relevant research with potential to support the development of regional data repositories for drought risk monitoring in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    This Ph.D. research project which is being undertaken by Ms. Sekela Twisa is supported by one of the APE consortium partners- the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, United Republic of Tanzania. The project seeks to address the challenge of drought risk monitoring in Sub-Saharan Africa by examining the potential to use water points as a source of data for monitoring sustainability of rural water sources in Sub-Saharan Africa. The overall objectives of the project are as follows:

    1. To assess the factors that affect sustainability of waters sources for rural water supply

    2. To assess factors that has an impact on infrastructure for rural water supply services

    3. To identify institutional factors in explaining rural water point’s functionality in rural Tanzania

    Project Description

    Large areas of the countries are water scarce areas and do not enjoy adequate supplies of water resource all year round. More- over, the water resources are spatially unequally distributed, in combination with varying population density, this results in wide differences in water availability and poses challenges for water supplies. According to WHO, 2012 globally the Millennium Development Goals target concerning access to safe drinking water has been met, but progress has been uneven in different areas. For instance, 89% of the world populations’ access improved water supplies, only 63% living in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 83% of the population in the world without access to better quality water supplies lives in rural areas, signifying that rural communities remain severely neglected.

    The achievement of long lasting and sustainable effects from projects is a major challenge for donors and the agencies implementing and supporting water supply in developing countries. In last decades, the water sector has been experiencing a decentralization of responsibilities, where decision-making transfers to local administrative units and decentralized bodies assume some political autonomy. The links between decentralization and poor planning are at best uncertain, and achieved outputs vary between countries. There are different opinions as to why the water supply systems are not sustainable. Providing safe drinking water in rural areas is a major challenge because it is not easy to establish institutional arrangements that will ensure the facilities are provided, maintained, and managed in an efficient, equitable and sustainable way. One of the major challenges is not just providing the infrastructure to serve rural communities, but creating local institutions and policies and maintaining those systems and infrastructure over a long term are critical keys to success.

    Relevant links