Impacts of rural water supply Systems in farming communities: a case study of the Saboba-Chereponi District

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Several issues may affect the impact of rural water supply systems in the beneficiary communities, including engineering and socio-cultural factors, geological limitations, poverty, ignorance, poor management and lack of sustainability. These, coupled with poor sanitation and hygiene practices may impede the intended socio-economic benefits. The study aimed at examining how these factors manifest in the beneficiary communities in the study area as well as determine the potential of these water systems for small scale irrigation as a means of income generation especially for repairs and maintenance cost. To achieve this, questionnaires and interviews, meteorological data, information on available yields of the water supply systems, crop data and infiltration data were collected. Besides, a case-control method was used where the same questionnaires were administered to equal number of both communities with interventions and those without. Results of the study revealed that the operational sustainability of the rural water systems in the District was a serious problem. This was due to many factors including inconvenient siting of water-points, poor design and construction of water systems, geological limitations, lack of spare parts, and lack of support to communities and monitoring role from the service providers, District Assembly and other stakeholders. Others included inactive Water and Sanitation Committees at community level, failure to account transparently for funds generated, lack of preventive maintenance, and the community’s lack of sense of ownership and apathy, inability to generate sufficient income, lack of community cohesion and lack of capacity. The prevalence of water related diseases except guinea worm were still high in the beneficiary communities due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices and these were: malaria (81.6%), diarrhoea (68.3%), typhoid fever (66.7%), skin diseases (23.3%), intestinal worms (6.7%), and bilharziasis (5.1%). Education on guinea worm eradication has been successful in eradicating the disease in the District. Socio-economically, potable water supply has attracted teachers to the beneficiary communities and encouraged many women to engage in different economic activities including small scale irrigation. The water systems have a high potential for small scale irrigation as a means of income generation. Training of community management committees has also enabled some of them to be self employed. Although there is not a simple formula to solve the problems enumerated above, in this study some alternatives are envisaged.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master Of Science In Soil And Water Engineering, 2009