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Improved Sources of Drinking Water  

The Millennium Development Goal 7C calls for halving by 2015 the proportion of people lacking sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Safe water is more likely provided by so called “improved drinking water sources” meeting certain technology standards and levels of service. These may include household connections, public standpipes, boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs and rainwater collection systems. Improved water sources do not include vendor-provided waters, bottled water, tanker trucks or unprotected wells and springs (WHO website 2010).

Women fetching water from an improved source.
Source: Tump 2007
( click to enlarge )

An improved drinking water source is defined as one that, by nature of its construction or through active intervention, is protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination with faecal matter (WHO/UNICEF website 2010).

Not having access to an improved water source may mean that people live more than one kilometre from the nearest safe water source and therefore collect water from drains, ditches or streams that might be infected with pathogens and bacteria that can cause severe illness and death. People are classified as enjoying access to safe or clean water if they have available at least 20 litres a day of water from an improved source less than one kilometre from their home (UNDP 2006). Two of every five Africans lack access to an improved water supply, reflecting a continent-wide lag in the provision of water services in rural areas (UNEP website 2010).

The lack of access to safe drinking water is caused by a number of environmental, socio-economic and political reasons. The result of failings in providing, operating and maintaing satisfactory water and sanitation systems include disease and health problems, thus placing severe limitations on economic development possibilities.

Use of Improved Drinking Water Sources in Sub-Saharan Africa

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

49

83

36

2000

55

82

42

2008

60

83

47

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

New water pump.
Source: AHT GROUP AG 2010
( click to enlarge )

Angola

A comparison of the situation in 1990 and 2008 reveals that Angola has achieved remarkable progress in improving drinking water supply: In 1990, only 36 % of the total population was using improved sources of drinking water whereas by 2008 this proportion had increased to 50 % (WHO/UNICEF 2010). Although this level remains below the current regional average of 60 % for sub-Saharan Africa, this development is a great achievement given Angola’s low coverage level in the baseline year (1990) and the rapid population growth the country is facing (WHO/UNICEF 2008).

The progress largely benefits Angola’s urban population (60 %) while drinking water coverage in rural areas seems to have stagnated at 40 % (WHO/UNICEF 2010).

Whilst experiencing encouraging progress, Angola is not yet on track to meet the goal of reducing by half (from 2000-2015) the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water (WHO/UNICEF 2010).

Use of Improved Drinking Water Sources in Angola

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

36

30

40

2000

41

43

40

2008

50

60

38

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

The box below displays Angola’s recent efforts to cover rural areas with drinking water.

Water for All

In order to better respond to the needs of the population of small villages and rural areas, the Angolan Council of Ministers announced a programme called “Water for All” (Água para Todos) in June 2007. “Water for All” envisages a total coverage of 80 % of rural areas with drinking water by 2012, foreseeing the construction of 5 000 water points and the rehabilitation of a further 2 000. Additionally, more than 200 small conventional water supply systems are planned to be rehabilitated or constructed.

The programme includes the perforation of boreholes and the installation of equipment for diesel pumps and manual pumps. The provision of equipment and spare parts for already existing boreholes constitutes a concrete business opportunity for the producers of this kind of equipment.

The table below shows the planned measures by 2012:

Planned Boreholes and Water Points

Province

Total of new boreholes

(planned)

Total of boreholes to be rehabilitated

Total water points (planned)

Kunene

600

524

1124

Huambo

500

120

620

Namibe

150

50

200

Huíla

700

300

1 000

Kunene basin provinces

1 950

994

2 944

Total Angola

5 000

2 000

7 000

The initial phase of the programme has experienced some delays so that by end of 2010 less than 30 % of the planned measures had been realized.

Namibia

During the last two decades Namibia has steadily improved access to drinking water, achieving far better drinking water coverage than the regional average of sub-Saharan Africa.

Today 92 % of Namibia’s population is using drinking-water from improved sources, an increase of 28 % since 1990. Data suggest that urban coverage was already at 99 % in 1990 and that the achievements can be entirely attributed to improved access in rural areas.

The goal of reducing by half (from 2000-2015) the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water seems to have already been achieved.

Use of Improved Drinking Water Sources in Namibia

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

64

99

51

2000

81

99

72

2008

92

99

88

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

 

 



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