On April 5th, MissionCleanWater attended the Global Water Alliance Conference at Villanova University. Water experts from around the world discussed a hidden resource, groundwater. 2.2 billion people across the world use groundwater as their primary drinking water source. Different public health and water professionals discussed what issues we face with groundwater and the steps we can take to prevent them.
The use of groundwater is nothing new. Since the 1970s, when Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) programs started to increase, groundwater was a good solution. Communities that were easy to reach received clean water and the water-providing organization quickly moved on. This quick process has led to over 60% of all Sub-Saharan African projects to fail. There are many reasons why, but the main one being poor management of groundwater resources. Since communities cannot see groundwater, they might be misusing it or not realize it is contaminated. Since then, better oversight, management, and strategies have been created to avoid any of these issues.
Groundwater is an important resource and the only way to provide clean water to communities in arid climates. These communities have been left behind because of their harder and more expensive solutions. With proper research, education, and monitoring, they too can have clean drinking water. To have a successful clean water project, all social, technical, economic, and political factors need to be taken into account.