CDVTA Cameroon Potable Water Project
Please note: Donations for this project will go to the International Association of Homes & Services for the Aging (IAHSA), now called Global Ageing Network. At the end of the campaign, Global Ageing Network will transfer the funds to CDVTA Cameroon.
Universal access to safe drinking water is a fundamental need and human right. Securing access for all would go a long way in reducing illnesses and death, especially among children. In 2015, 91 per cent of the world’s population used improved drinking water sources, exceeding the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target of 88 per cent. Over the MDG period 2.6 billion people gained access to an improved drinking water source, of these 1.9 billion gained access to a piped supply on premises. Despite this enormous accomplishment, troubling disparities persist: 663 million people do not use an improved drinking water source, most of who are poor and live in rural areas. Questions also remain about the safety of ‘improved’ drinking water sources that may not always be free of contaminants and may not provide a reliable supply of water throughout the year (UNICEF 2016).
Cameroon is blessed with abundant water, from sources like streams, rivers, springs, rain, lakes and from the ocean. The water however needs to be made potable to use conveniently. Recent estimates suggest that climate change will account for about 20% of the increase in global water scarcity. According to UNICEF only 44% of people in rural areas of Cameroon, have access to safe drinking water, and nearly ½ of the people in developing countries suffer from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits. While water covers 71% of the earth surface area, there is very little pure and clean water that is fit for drinking. In Cameroon only about 60% of the people have access to safe drinking water (World bank, 2003). In the rural communities where CDVTA is working like Elemighong village, this rate is even lower.
In the Northwest region of Cameroon, only 29% of the families are currently having access to safe drinking water (Plan Cameroon, 2015) The North West Region has witnessed a steady growth in its population especially in rural communities, like Elemighong (with 8721 inhabitants) and stagnant rural development. These activities have, come with some disadvantages for local populations. These include indiscriminate felling of trees and bush burning, drying up of rivers, contamination of rural water sources, poor hygiene and sanitation, resulting in diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea and dysentery etc. More than three-quarters of Cameroon’s over 23 million people live in rural areas. The same is true for Boyo Division and Belo Sub Division where Elemighong village is located and where this water project will be implemented.
This project will solve water, hygiene, sanitation, agricultural irrigation and health related problems like:
• Poor water sources with contaminated water,
• Water borne diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and diarrhea
• Long distances to water sources by women and children
• Poor unsafe drinking water for the inhabitants of Elemighong and visitors
• High expenses for medical treatment of water related illnesses
• Poor hygiene and sanitation
• Poor welfare and standards of living
• Low life expectancy rate and high child mortality due to poor drinking water.
• High hospital attendance and consultations by patients suffering from water related diseases
• Water shortage in the village during the dry season
• Reduction in river water volumes due to disappearance of trees around catchment areas
• Lack of water in dry areas for irrigation of crops and vegetables in gardens and farms during dry seasons
The scarcity of clean and safe drinking water in Elemighong community is so acute to the extent that, it has resulted in a favourable breeding condition for water related diseases. The rivers flowing through the village originate from the cattle and goat grazing hills and are often contaminated by animal and plant wastes. Villagers living down-stream often fetch water more contaminated by dirt from clothes washed by other villagers up stream. These rivers flow through areas with poor latrine exposure and in times of heavy rains and floods, get more contaminated and dangerous. Visiting the water courses during feasibility for this project, CDVTA staff and villagers could see standing water with colors that seem to breed bacteria, mosquitoes and pathogens. Cattle and goat owners from the hillsides, during transhumance usually feed their cows not only down-stream but close up-stream. The local people of this village tend to drink from the same source where these animals drink, whose results have often been poor ill health.
Moreover, stream water in Elemighong is inadequate and unsafe to drink since it possesses colour, odour and taste. However underground water at the spring catchment source (spring eye) where the water will be tapped and distributed to Elemighong inhabitants, is up the hill, from ground made up of volcanic soil, and laterites which is good for natural filtration and makes the water portable and fit for drinking. The water from this source is free of any pathogens and impurities and the locals can drink directly from the source. The project will maintain the portable nature of the water for drinking by constructing a catchment tank, a storage tank before piping it to the local population for drinking through 16 stand taps to avoid contamination. Visiting the nearby Elemighong health clinic for findings on illnesses reported from this area, revealed must laboratory results for patients” illnesses attributed to poor source of drinking water coupled with poor hygiene and sanitation, especially for women and children. In a working session with the Elemighong community on the prioritization of their problems and needs, portable pipe borne water was accepted by all locals present as a key priority problem needing urgent solutions to address the water crisis in this community.
This is why CDVTA has decided to focus its attention on the provision of safe and clean drinking water to the local population of Elemighong in North West Cameroon as a major solution to solving water related problems in this community. This is the best way of solving the problems of water related illnesses in the community, improving on hygiene and sanitation and reducing the distances covered by women and children to fetch for water for their families.