Drinking Water Safety in African Countries
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The following report is the result of a literature study of published documents presenting the current water supply situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, in combination with a field trip to the Mpagne village in Cameroon. The objective of the project has been to study and discuss the current theoretical approach on sustainable water supply, as well as to generate possible technical solutions and present administrative changes required. A thorough background analysis demonstrates the need for improvement on a local village level as well as on a regional, national and international level. Key findings are high failure rates as a consequence of the absence of evaluation of past projects, as well as the fact that many agencies do not work in line with existing policies and theoretically developed approaches to solve the problem. Further, there is a general need to cultivate local political will for long-term commitment and funding of the sector. Although some of the organizations engaged in the sector have started to realise that there is a need for an alteration of approach angle, thus far there is little evidence of the change required to move towards universal coverage. A needs assessment and a requirement specification were developed based on the findings in the background analysis. This was then used to generate possible technical solutions to be further studied. In the process of deciding upon technical solutions, the information gathered in the village, especially that related to the previously implemented system, has been important. After analysing the data collected in Mpagne and studying available technology the following alternatives were developed: Alternative 1: Groundwater exploitation with flywheel handpump, elevated storage tank and gravity based distribution to community tap standAlternative 2: Rainwater harvesting with swale-trench filtration and flywheel handpump, elevated storage tank and gravity based distribution to community tap standAlternative 3: Combination of groundwater exploitation and rainwater harvesting, similar to alternative 1, with the addition of RWH at the village school. In order to systematically compare these options and decide upon a best suited solution, the indicator comparison methodology developed during the fall project was used in combination with a SWOT-analysis of each concept. The final results obtained indicate that alternative 3 was slightly better than the other two alternatives. A description of the technology required for the new water supply facility in Mpagne was then presented to the level it is possible with the information available at this stage. The intention is for this to serve as an initial suggestion to be presented to the villagers for further discussion. The report continues with a discussion of an implementation strategy with an enhanced focus on how the technical system can be installed in Mpagne in a social, economic and environmentally sound context. The discussion covers the following four phases: 1. Planning2. Construction3. Operation and maintenance4. Follow-up and evaluation This process will be especially important considering the past failed project in Mpagne, and an agency should give special attention to including the villagers in all levels from an early stage. This to avoid the deficiency between the solution implemented and the actual needs resulting from the past project. Further findings are the current situation of downgrading external factors such as the availability and reliability of spare part supply networks as well as lack of general technical support. This is a primary cause of project failure today. The lack of coordination amongst the sector operators, including NGO s, donor agencies, and local and international government entities, is also an important factor which slows down the progress of developing an efficient and effective water supply sector. Lastly, until internal village level factors as well as external regional and national aspects are adequately satisfied, the agencies operating in the rural water supply sector today have a great responsibility in terms of creating an enabling environment for sector development. Project conduction should be done in adherence with existing policies until the local governments and/or private partners have succeeded in developing an institutional framework to support a well-functioning water supply sector.