Soil and Water Lab 
International Research 


International Research: Mali

The West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI) was launched in 2002 to promote broader partnerships between the various organizations working in water supply development. The Soil & Water Lab, working with the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), studied water-use patterns, choice-of-technology preferences, sustainability perceptions, current pump conditions and general hygiene practices in the Mopti region of Mali.

To determine the effect of groundwater depth on water-use behavior, three villages of were chosen having water at depths of 5, 25, and 75 meters respectively. The deeper the groundwater, the higher the priority for finding a sustainable source became. Deeper groundwater was also found to severely limit a community's ability to exploit the resource for anything other than the most basic household needs.

A survey of manual pumps showed that 41% were in use, but only 10% were providing water at a rate meeting the World Health Organization's guidelines for rural water supply. This poor performance is due to deep groundwater, non-availability of spare parts, lack of trained personnel, and limited community participation in the management and design. As long as these issues are not properly addressed, future sustainability of pump installations may not be as extensive as desired.

Recent Work / Publications

The importance of community involvement in the planning and design phases of rural water supply development projects in the Koro region of Mali, West Africa - Download Adobe Acrobat .pdf version (304 kb)


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