Author: Brenda Ampomah
Affiliated Organisation: International Water Association (IWA)
Site of publication : iwa-network.org
Type of publication : Article
Date of publication : February 2019
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Over the last few decades, Burkina Faso, partly due to its geographical location, has experienced strong seasonal and annual climatic variations that place pressure on limited water resources. Climate variability is a major constraint on food security, health, environment, and poverty reduction due to a high dependence on the agricultural sector, which is 86% of the GDP. Available water resources are highly vulnerable to changes in rain, temperature and wind patterns. This has become a major challenge in the operations of the national utility, Office National de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement (ONEA), supplying drinking water for 43 urban centers in the country, including Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, which has an estimated population of over 20 million people
According to ONEA the major climate related risks to water supply faced by the country are droughts, floods and erosion. These risks do not just affect the quality and quantity of the resources but also result in damage to infrastructure, rendering them temporarily inoperative, leading to an increased risk of contamination or untimely distribution of water. Erosion, which occurs during both flood and drought events, silts up rivers causing deterioration of water quality by not only increasing the turbidity of the water but also by run-off of pollutants even in underground aquifers.
Most of the major river banks in the country have a high concentration of commercial activities such as farming and mining. Through the use of fertilizers and pesticides, water is easily contaminated causing negative effects for fish stocks, human and animal health.
According to ONEA the major climate related risks to water supply faced by the country are droughts, floods and erosion. These risks do not just affect the quality and quantity of the resources but also result in damage to infrastructure, rendering them temporarily inoperative, leading to an increased risk of contamination or untimely distribution of water
The Flood and Drought Portal (http://www.flooddroughtmonitor.com/), developed under the Flood and Drought Management Tools (FDMT) project, provides ONEA with a way integrate information about floods, droughts and future scenarios. Through the portal, ONEA is able to get free, reliable and near real-time climate data (rainfall, temperature, evapotranspiration, etc.). This information is necessary for ONEA to evaluate the risks to their water supply system and to propose reliable control measures.
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