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Drinkable Water for Burkina Faso


Partnership with Water for the World

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The Country of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked West African country with no access to the sea, surrounded by Mali to the north and west, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest. With an area of 270,764 km2, and a population of 20 millions habitants Burkina Faso is one of the most disadvantage countries in the world.

Despite economic growth in 2016, about 40.1% of the country's citizens live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is estimated at 6.6% of the working population. 


Today in Burkina Faso half of the population does not have access to safe drinking water.

1. What are the reasons for lack of clean and drinkable water

Natural Causes

The Environmental climate is one cause of not-potable water in Burkina-Faso.

National droughts in Burkina Faso make the availability of drinking water scarce.  

This compels many people living in rural areas to travel long distances to find water and migrate to urban areas despite the water sanitation poor quality even in cities.

Human Impact

Another reason would be the mining operations.  Because gold is a major source of income for the country, pollution from mining has also reduced water quality in Burkina Faso.  

Mining causes large amounts of arsenic to seep into the environment.  This allows high contamination of local water, making water sources completely useless.

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2. Adverse side effects or consequences

Because there is no access to clean water and hygiene, water-borne diseases such as diarrhea appear (more than 4,500 children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrhea). Another consequence of the lack of access to clean water is that "more than 800 women die every day from complications that occur during pregnancy or childbirth," according to the United Nations.  Mostly caused by a lack of hygiene, for which clean water is needed.


3. Notable Government Actions

Despite the deplorable situation in Burkina Faso, many humanitarian organizations, as well as the government of Burkina Faso, are making significant improvements.

In addition, the government of Burkina Faso has made slow but significant improvements to the overall water quality in the country.  

Since 2000, the government has undertaken numerous reforms to address water-related problems.

One of these reforms is the creation of a watershed committee to protect and improve watersheds for equitable use.  

Burkina Faso has five large watersheds and two of the basins, mouhoun and Comoé, have created watershed committees: 

Mouhoun Basin and Samandé Dam
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With a population of about 20 million, urbanization is increasingly rapid, increasing the pressure on scarce water resources and the lack of existing infrastructure.  With an annual growth rate of 5.2%, 40% of the population will live in urban centres by 2025, mainly in informal settlements.

The country has only one permanent watercourse, water resources are limited and the cost of their distribution is high.  

Until 2007, the capital, Ouagadougou, was mainly drinking  water from the heavily polluted Loumbila dam (20 kilometres north of the city) and many wells built around the city.  

Water shortages were frequent.
While 72.4% of the country's population (urban and rural areas combined) have overall access to improved water sources, in 2018 disparities were still observed between urban areas (92%) rural areas (65.3%).  

With an overall national rate of 19.8%, access to adequate sanitation remains low in both urban and rural areas (36.1% and 13.7% respectively).

Even with the efforts of the Burkina Faso authorities over the past 15 years, poor people still struggle to benefit from better water and sanitation services, especially in suburban habitats and rural areas.

Since decentralization in 2009, rural municipalities have been responsible for water and sanitation management.


ONEA (National water supplier ) remains the main supplier in urban areas, i.e. in 54 municipalities (including Ouagadougou).


However, decentralisation has not been complete, with central and local governments having to improve their capacity to deliver services before undertaking the provision of public services such as water and sanitation. 


To date, many of the missions assigned to municipalities are still carried out by national agencies.


The National Plan or the National Poverty Reduction Strategy adopted by the state in 2000 was designed to reduce inequality by making equity a priority. 


However, it appears that geographical inequalities (due either to poor hydrogeological conditions, low investment, or both) are consubstantial to economic inequalities and these are the poorest segments of the population that suffers. 


With regard to water supply, the specific objective is to make access more wideby by 2030 by adopting a strategy that takes into account the poor and vulnerable. 


The successful implementation of this strategy depends on a firm commitment of key players and a healthy dose of innovation in financing mechanisms, technological solutions and strategies that are favourable to the poor and vulnerable, as well as new information and education tools.


4. Drinking water companies in Burkina Faso

There are several water manufacturing plants that are trying to make up for the lack of drinking water in Burkina Faso.  

Despite their noticeable actions , a part of the population still does not benefit from this drinking water because of several factors:

 The high selling price  

The price for 1.5 liter bottle varies between 500 FCFA XOF to 2000 FCFA XOF  and the 50cl water bag from 100 FCFA XOF depending on the manufacture and the location .

The floating exchange rate of the country currency is about  500 FCFA XOF to 600 FCFA XOF for 1 US dollars .

  Most rural areas have no access to electricity 

Many inaccessible Roads

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