Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Fuso suffers from severe shortage of safe drinking water, especially in the dry season. The bulk of the water consumed by the residents of the city is from surface water sources that are treated and supplied by the National Water and Sanitation Company (ONEA). ONEA extracts the water from a three hill dam system in Ouagadougou city known as Ouaga 1 2 and 3. Underground water is not only difficult to extract but subject to seasonal fluctuations of the water table.
The dams collect rainwater through open channels located round the city, where the poorest inhabitants live, particularly in the vicinity of the dam. With inadequate sanitation systems the inhabitants dispose of their waste water and garbage in the drains and open channels. Thus rain water collected ends up in reservoir behind the dam. It is usually polluted with the waste accumulated in the channels during the dry spells. Over the years, the hill dam reservoirs have been gradually filled with mud and sediment.
To meet the growing need for safe drinking water and sanitation in Ouagadougou, ONEA has started exploiting new sources, including the lumbila dam, located about 10 kms from the capital and the recently built Ziga dam which is about 50 kms away. The key priority of the Ouagadougou city is to increase access and affordable service coverage for safe drinking water and basic sanitation targeting the poorest populations of the city but also to improve the production capacity of the three hill dams.
During the dry months, (March to June), most of the population depends on water supplied by vendors at very high prices and although charges for the ONEA network connections are affordable for most of the poor population, statistics indicate that their monthly expenditures on vendor supplied water are much higher than they would be required to pay if they got their water through the national provider.