Integrating productive water points into rural water supply as a means of coping with drought

Lovell, C.J.; Kremer, A.; Moriarty, P.B.; Dube, T.; Macdonald, D.M.J.; Lombe, F.. 1999 Integrating productive water points into rural water supply as a means of coping with drought. In: UNESCO International Conference, Integrated drought management: Lessons for Sub-Saharan Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, 20-22 Sept 1999. 271-281. (Unpublished)

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Lack of water is preventing many household and community-based activities for millions of people living in dry areas of sub-Saharan Africa. When water becomes available it is put to a wide variety of uses: drinking, washing, food processing, beer brewing, brick making, small-scale irrigation, fruit orchards, livestock feedlots, small-scale dairy etc. Many of these water-related activities have a high economic value. They can play an important role in household income and livelihood strategies, and through diversification can avoid over-reliance on single production activities such as rain-fed cropping of marginal lands. However, the diverse range of production strategies that can be associated with a water point have not formally been promoted. Rural water supply policy has tended to focus on only two social aspects: improved access to domestic supply and improved sanitation. Less attention has been paid to exactly how a community would prefer to use the water to develop their own livelihoods. This is due in part to the difficulties of abstracting sufficient reliable groundwater in dryland areas, and in part to a misunderstanding of why wells and boreholes fail which leads to a general belief that abstraction should be limited to domestic supply to conserve the resource. This paper provides an overview of research that has shed light on why wells and boreholes fail, on the potential of the groundwater resource to support production through improved siting and selection of more appropriate well designs, and on the positive impact that productive water points can have on community resource management and livelihood strategies. Productive water points in this context are community-managed water points, designed and implemented as part of rural water supply to provide water surplus to domestic needs which may be used for economically productive purposes. Importantly, they are implemented in a manner that empowers the local people to own the resource and assume responsibility for operation and maintenance. Policy implications of integrating productive water points into national programmes as a means of coping with drought are discussed, drawing on lessons to emerge from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, International development
Date made live: 07 Jul 2014 07:35 +0 (UTC)

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