- Freshwater Ecosystems
- - - - EADN - -
Near Lakeshore Drinking Water
- Coastal Ecosystems
- Dryland Ecosystems
- Water-Health Nexus
- Knowledge Management and Mobilization
- Training and Capacity Building
Institute for Water, Environment & Health
175 Longwood Road South, Suite 204, Hamilton Ontario L8P 0A1 CANADA
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Finding solutions to Polluted Lake-shore Drinking Water in Rural African Communities: Women, Community Learning and Appropriate Technology
The African Great Lakes (principally Malawi, Victoria and Tanganyika) represent the largest and most secure sources of drinking water for tens of millions of people in East Africa. Regrettably, however, most of the near-shore areas of these lakes are severely contaminated from faecal, nutrient and organic pollution and are unfit for human consumption, even though 500 m off-shore the water is safe for drinking purposes. Young children and women and the most severely affected, either directly or indirectly.
As a result of this widespread situation, residents of shoreline communities are driven inland to secure safe supplies of drinking water, usually from distant, vulnerable, shallow, ground water aquifers. As a result:
For the Great Lakes riparian countries, this is a tragic and frustrating misuse of a precious resource. However, all of these impacts could be mitigated if robust, affordable pollution control programmes and drinking water treatment systems could be instituted for lakeside communities. Low-cost water treatment technologies at the household or community level are capable of dramatically improving the microbial quality of household stored water and reducing the attendant risks of diarrhoeal disease and death. Even better, are pollution management programmes that prevent release of the nutrients and organic substrates for algae and bacteria.