OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO - Despite considerable progress made in past decades, drinking water services in Burkinabè urban areas remain heterogeneous and deficient in terms of their service coverage and reliability, infrastructure performance, and water quality. This situation is due in part to the insufficient coordination of the various actors, national and international, intervening in the drinking water sector. Their insufficient coordination, particularly in their monitoring and evaluation programs, leads to inadequate and incomplete drinking water service data. This data is crucial to drinking water development activities and service provision. Without it, actor decision-making is uninformed, which leads to resource misallocation and subsequently to reduced safe water access and increased water-borne disease incidences.
In August 2018, Initiative: Eau launched a study to address this data gap in the city of Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso by investigating the state of drinking water infrastructure and services in the city. The study is conducted in partnership with the National Office of Water and Sanitation (ONEA), the Public Communal Development Establishment (EPCD), the City of Fada N’Gourma, the Burkina Faso Ministry of Water and Sanitation, and the Burkina Faso Ministry of Health. The general objective of the study is to support and enable the urban drinking water development strategy of the city of Fada N’Gourma through the integrated collection, analysis, and dissemination of water, health, and infrastructure data. Specifically, this study aims to:
create a comprehensive database of a) drinking water infrastructure, b) drinking water quality, and c) water-borne disease incidence data for the city over a 9-month period;
prepare an analyzed report of the data collected and disseminate it to relevant actors responsible for water, health, and infrastructure in the city; and
inform and guide decision-making by actors in the fields of water, health, and infrastructure to direct available resources to the city’s areas of greatest need.
To accomplish this, we have conducted a water point inventory of all public water points in the city. From this inventory, we then selected a sample of 106 water points for water quality monitoring over a 9-month period. We are currently at the mid-point of the water quality monitoring time course, which will continue until May 2019. This report is being released at this mid-point to share observations made thus far and to offer preliminary recommendations to local actors and external development support entities. From the data collected, we have identified a number of trends and offer several data-based recommendations for drinking water service improvement and development in Fada N’Gourma, found below.
Taken together, these findings demonstrate the critical role that data must play in informing decision-making, especially at the municipal level and in developing city contexts. Armed with these data, municipal decision makers can now target available financial and human resources to the areas where they are needed most. As such, these resources become more efficient in their ability to ensure safe water access and to protect the health of the citizens of Fada N’Gourma. The full version of the report can be accessed using the buttons below.
Observations and recommendations: Performance of drinking water services
Observation 1: Over 16% of water points in the city were non-performing at the time of the inventory, with urban borehole hand-pumps and ONEA standpipes featuring the greatest absolute numbers of non-performing points.
Observation 2: There was a water point accessibility rate of change of -5.79 water points per month during the first seven time points of the water quality monitoring time course. This means that each month 5.79 water points became and remained inaccessible in the city.
Observation 3: The city features local water governance structure insufficiencies. Water point committees (WPCs) often lack the necessary financial mechanisms to ensure the availability of capital for reparations in the event of borehole hand-pump breakdown. WPCs lack the capacity to conduct and initiate routine and preventative maintenance, causing a more rapid deterioration of the useful life of a borehole hand-pump’s components.
Observation 4: Several actors have urban drinking water service provision mandates but there are unclear functional boundaries demarcating entity responsibilities and lack of local actor capacity, making it difficult for a cohesive drinking water service provision plan to be coordinated.
Recommendation 1: We recommend the reinforcement of local water governance structures, notably of borehole hand-pump WPCs, through technical training in evidence-based methodologies for water point management and maintenance. This reinforcement increases local capacity to undertake management and maintenance activities and extends the useful lives of urban borehole hand-pumps.
Recommendation 2: We recommend that monitoring and maintenance oversight gaps be closed by clarifying the functional boundaries separating state and municipal water actors. We suggest that these efforts be accomplished through the reinforcement of the technical, financial, and human resource capacities of municipal authorities to plan, execute, and monitor/evaluate drinking water service provision within their commune.
Observations and recommendations: Water quality
Observation 1: 71% of selected ONEA standpipes were non-conformant for electrical conductivity with values below the reference range established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adopted by the Government of Burkina Faso (GoBF).
Observation 2: 29% of selected ONEA standpipes were non-conformant for turbidity with values higher than the limit established by WHO and adopted by GoBF.
Observation 3: 18% of autonomous water post (AWP) standpipes and 3% of borehole hand-pumps were non-conformant for E. coli and presented Moderate disease risk from drinking water.
Observation 4: 90.9% of AWP standpipes and 31% of borehole hand-pumps were non-conformant for total coliforms with levels higher than the limit established by WHO and adopted by GoBF.
Observation 5: Fada N’Gourma lacks a regularized water quality monitoring and management program.
Recommendation 1: We recommend that appropriate disinfection measures, such as chlorine shocking, be employed to reduce the likelihood of disease in individuals drinking water from affected AWP standpipes and borehole hand-pumps.
Recommendation 2: We recommend that appropriate evaluations of system integrity and cleanliness be conducted for affected AWP standpipes and borehole hand-pumps.
Recommendation 3: We recommend that a regularized water quality monitoring and management program be elaborated and executed in the city of Fada N’Gourma, with a specific focus on developing surveillance monitoring approaches. The capacities of municipal authorities should be the focus of reinforcement to enable the sustainability of such processes in the long-term.
Observations and recommendations: Geography-linked
Observation 1: Sectors 7, 8, and 9 feature the greatest concentrations of un-improved and modern wells still used for drinking water.
Observation 2: Sectors 7, 8, and 9 feature low representations of ONEA standpipes compared to other sectors. ONEA standpipes represent 31%, 10%, and 17% of water points in each sector, respectively.
Observation 3: Sectors 8 and 9 present a relative lack of piped ONEA water coverage as compared with other sectors of the city.
Observation 4: Sectors 7, 8, and 9 possess the greatest absolute numbers of non-conformant water points for E. coli and those presenting Moderate and High disease risk from drinking-water, due to the high concentration of wells still used for drinking water access.
Recommendation 1: We recommend that sectors 7, 8, and 9 be designated priority sectors for drinking water service development in the city.
Recommendation 2: We recommend the protection of modern wells as a viable short-term solution to ensure the drinking water safety of those living in these priority sectors.
Recommendation 3: We recommend the targeting of ONEA expansion efforts to these priority sectors as a viable long-term solution to ensure the drinking water safety of those living in these priority sectors.