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Water, water everywhere in Africa ... but it’s too costly to ...

World

Water, water everywhere in Africa ... but it’s too costly to reach

Drilling for groundwater costs hundreds of thousands or rand, leaving these villagers with a dwindling, unsafe supply

Edward McAllister

When the water well began to run low in a remote village in northern Senegal in 2010, the government drilled another one, fit with a shiny metal hand pump and a sign commemorating the investment. Today, it barely emits a trickle, residents say.

Desperate in a sweltering region, the community last year raised $5,000 (about R73,000) to try again. The new well failed to hit water and has become the butt of a bitter village joke. Children make mocking sounds from the well mouth, their voices echoing down the empty, waterless shaft.

Two studies last month touted groundwater as an answer to water shortages in sub-Saharan Africa, a potential lifesaver for millions in a region expected to be one of the hardest hit by climate change. Water locked in subterranean stores could help African countries survive at least five years of drought, according to research by WaterAid and the British Geological Survey (BGS)...

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