Project closed: 2009
The African Great Lakes (principally Malawi, Victoria and Tanganyika) represent the largest and most secure sources of drinking water for tens of millions of people in East Africa. Regrettably, however, most of the near-shore areas of these lakes are severely contaminated from faecal, nutrient, and organic pollution and are unfit for human consumption, even though 500m off-shore the water is safe for drinking purposes. Young children and women are the most severely affected, either directly or indirectly. However, all of these impacts could be mitigated if robust, affordable, pollution control programmes and drinking water treatment systems could be instituted for lakeside communities. Low-cost water treatment technologies at the household or community level are capable of dramatically improving the microbial quality of household stored water and reducing the attendant risks of diarrhoeal disease and death. Even better, are pollution management programmes that prevent release of the nutrients and organic substrates for algae and bacteria.
The main objective of this project is to develop an integrated planning framework for the provision of safe drinking water to lakeside communities, based on a synthesis of regional Great Lakes experiences, then test its applicability through a pilot project in lakeside Lake Victoria communities in Kenya. The pilot-scale implementation will lead to planning, implementing, and operating community-based, women-led pollution control and drinking water treatment programmes. These lake water treatment programmes and technologies will be designed to be replicable on a large-scale throughout the African Great Lakes Region.