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More than $300 million wasted in water projects

Donors, governments and NGOs have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in rural African water projects by not maintaining wells and boreholes they built, according to an International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) report.

As a result, 50,000 water supply points are non-functioning across rural Africa, wrote Jamie Skinner. Only one third of the water supply systems built by an NGO network in Senegal’s Kaolack region since the 1980s are still working; 58 percent of water points in northern Ghana are in disrepair.

“It is not enough to drill a well and walk away. Water projects need to support long-term maintenance needs and engage local communities. Without this it is like throwing money down the drain,” stated the IIED report. Up to US$360 million has been lost in wasted water projects in recent years.

“Every day a borehole does not provide safe water, people are obliged to drink from unclean pools and rivers, exposing them to water-borne diseases,” Skinner said.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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