Published in: 2012
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
Nick, A., Foppen, J. W., Kulabako, R., Lo, D., Samwel, M., Wagner, F., Wolf, L.
Groundwater is a very important resource for human life accounting for nearly 60% of the world’s drinking water supply, while in arid and semi-arid zones this rate may even reach 100%. Groundwater has comparatively low development costs, is a high quality local resource, for which only simple water treatment is necessary, and for small systems requires only simple distribution systems.
Groundwater quality and sanitation are often linked as pollution of groundwater from unsafe household sanitation systems through nutrients, pathogens and organic micropollutants (including emerging contaminants) can occur.
There are many tools to prevent groundwater pollution: land-use planning plays an important role in protecting areas that are vulnerable by restricting the use of these areas. Water Safety Plans can play a fundamental role for communities to protect groundwater quality. In larger
frameworks such as transboundary aquifers, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) schemes are required to protect recharge areas, even if they are distant from the points of abstraction.
Sanitation solutions need to be adapted to the regional conditions in order to be sustainable. Accessible and safe sanitation and good groundwater quality are critical elements for sustained growth in developing countries that require policy and legal support systems to remain effective. This includes developing educational curricula (focussing on groundwater and sanitation) as well as institutional
capacity building programmes.
Failure to improve general sanitation conditions and thereby contaminating groundwater endangers the economic growth potential of a region. This may impact negatively on the overall economic output due to increasing costs in the health, labour and production sectors. Sanitation and groundwater issues including capacity development need to be addressed on all political levels of government.
Last updated: 30 April, 2012
Nick, A., Foppen, J. W., Kulabako, R., Lo, D., Samwel, M., Wagner, F., Wolf, L. (2012). Sustainable sanitation and groundwater protection - Factsheet of Working Group 11. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
English Factsheets and policy briefs Groundwater protection (WG11) Publications by SuSanA Publications by SuSanA
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