Comparative performance of rural water supplies during drought

MacAllister, D.J. ORCID:; MacDonald, A.M. ORCID:; Kebede, S.; Godfrey, S.; Calow, R.. 2020 Comparative performance of rural water supplies during drought. Nature Communications, 11, 1099.

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As rural African communities experience more frequent and extreme droughts, it is increasingly important that water supplies are climate resilient. Using a unique temporal dataset we explore rural water supply (n = 5196) performance during the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia. Mean functionality ranged from 60% for motorised boreholes to 75% for hand-pumped boreholes. Real-time monitoring and responsive operation and maintenance led to rapid increases in functionality of hand-pumped and, to a lesser extent, motorised boreholes. Increased demand was placed on motorised boreholes in lowland areas as springs, hand-dug-wells and open sources failed. Most users travelled >1 h to access motorised boreholes but <30 min, increasing to 30-60 mins, for hand-pumped boreholes. Boreholes accessing deep (>30 m) groundwater performed best during the drought. Prioritising access to groundwater via multiple improved sources and a portfolio of technologies, such as hand-pumped and motorised boreholes, supported by responsive and proactive operation and maintenance, increases rural water supply resilience.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2041-1723
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater drought, International development
Date made live: 11 Mar 2020 16:21 +0 (UTC)

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