June 27, 2022

Why So Many Clean Water Projects Fail

Why do so many clean water projects fail? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

There is a failure in the water aid industry to provide reliable and lasting clean water solutions to the communities that need it. In Africa, 60% of water projects fail on average, forcing communities to return to unsafe water sources. Commonly, the projects are built then abandoned, or the communities are left without any training or instruction on how to maintain and manage their water systems. In my experience in the water sector, my team has found the most common reasons for water system breakdown are a lack of training on maintenance, as well as improper implementation. Organizations too often build a water well, and then leave the community without any recourse when the water stops flowing. Even where training has been done on maintenance (which helps prevent issues), the expertise is missing from the ongoing support of these communities, and the beneficiaries are made helpless.

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