Drinking water and sanitation programme in small and medium-sized towns

Project description

Title: Drinking water and sanitation programme in small and medium-sized towns
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Burkina Faso
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Ressources Hydrauliques, de l’Assainissement et de la Sécurité Alimentaire
Overall term: 2004 to 2015

Burkina Faso. Providing drinking water. Children fill canisters at a public hydrant. © GIZ


As a result of decentralisation processes in Burkina Faso, responsibility for planning, building and operating water supply and sanitation systems is increasingly being transferred to the municipal level. Many communities, however, are scarcely up to this new task. Municipal and regional authorities lack experience with water management, while at the national level sound strategies are not yet in place to resolve the problem. At the same time, the expansion and operation of water supply and sanitation systems are barely keeping pace with the constantly growing demand for safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation. Services available to residents in the rapidly growing outskirts of small and medium-sized towns are completely inadequate. Poor population groups are suffering in particular. The national water utility faces high losses from pipeline leaks and urgently needs more skilled employees.


Water supply and sanitation systems are improved in selected small and medium-sized towns in Burkina Faso.


The programme develops specialist and organisational capacities at municipal and regional level through training, with a particular focus on setting up and managing decentralised water supply and sanitation systems. Furthermore, it devises sanitation strategies in cooperation with the ministry responsible for water, hydraulic engineering and sanitation, the urban drinking water supply and sanitation service provider and eight municipalities. It implements these strategies together with the partners. One focus is on informal settlements, where new drinking water pipelines and water taps are now providing the inhabitants with safe drinking water.


Municipal development plans for public water supply and sanitation are now available in communities covered by the project. These serve as guidelines for the planning and sustainable management of investments.

Since 2009, the water ministry has no longer had central responsibility for water supply and wastewater management. This task has been devolved to local governments. The transfer of financial resources to them enables infrastructure to be maintained and public access to water to be improved.

The national water and sanitation utility has developed an approach based on the needs of customers in the regions.

This progress resulted in the connection of 600,000 people's homes to the water supply network between 2007 and 2009. 170,000 people living in the country’s towns and cities have permanent access to water at public wells. Access to sanitation services has also increased significantly. 250,000 people benefited from improved infrastructure between 2007 and 2009.

Burkina Faso’s water utility ONEA has opened a vocational training centre for the water sector. An educational platform was created at this centre with financial support from Denmark.

Burkina Faso. Supplying drinking water. © GIZ

Better-trained employees and support from three German companies has allowed the national water utility to significantly cut its water losses from pipelines. A long-term partnership has been forged between ONEA and the company Hamburg Wasser. The efficiency of urban water networks improved by 2.3 per cent between 2012 and 2014, saving the water utility 2.1 million cubic metres of water.

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