Management of water usage in LEDCs

There are problems in supplying water in LEDCs. These are:

  • lack of availability of clean water
  • diseases spread via the water supply
  • water pollution

Managing water resources

One in eight people of the world population do not have access to safe water. 60 million children are born each year in LEDCs who do not have access to safe water.

In LEDCs using appropriate technology is usually the best way to manage supply.

Women and children collecting drinking water from an artificial well in Senegal.
Women and children collecting drinking water from an artificial well in Senegal
  • Wells, dug by hand, are a common way of accessing water, but the supply can be unreliable and sometimes the well itself can be a source of disease.
  • Gravity-fed schemes are used where there is a spring on a hillside. The water can be piped from the spring down to the villages.
  • Boreholes can require more equipment to dig, but can be dug quickly and usually safely. They require a hand or diesel pump to bring the water to the surface.

In addition to locating new sources of water, some strategies help to reduce the need for water. These include:

  • harvesting (collecting) rainwater landing on buildings
  • recycling waste water to use on crops
  • improving irrigation techniques
  • growing crops less dependant on a high water supply
  • minimising evaporation of water

As LEDC cities grow, so does the demand for water. The problem doesn't end when water supplies have been improved and pipes put in place. The water has got to come from somewhere, and the source of supply may be scarce. It is LEDCs which have the lowest access to safe water as the map below shows:

Graph showing the percentage of world populations that have access to safe waterWHO, 2013

Managing safe water

Without safe water, people cannot lead healthy and productive lives. Areas which are in poverty are likely to remain in that way. One example where non-governmental charities have helped break this cycle is in Nigeria.

In Nigeria only 38 per cent of people have access to sanitation. A community led total sanitation project (CLTS) was started by one non-governmental charity. In one year, the project helped 2.5 million people gain access to sanitation. Areas with poor infrastructure, high rates of illness and poverty were identified, and the charity worked with the local population in these areas. The teams worked with the people and educated them as to how poor hygiene and sanitation can make people ill. This included how it can also make others in the community ill. Toilets were built using local, affordable materials. Key people in the community led the work.