IWA Publishing

Self supply systems: Urban dug wells in Abeokuta, Nigeria


Self supply systems are privately owned household water sources. The systems are generally perceived as playing a role in water service delivery to the rural poor. The systems' yielding safe drinking-water also receives little attention in literature and policy, relative to public and communal sources. This paper assessed urban self supply wells and argues that self supply is a coping water supply strategy of not only the rural poor, but also of the unserved in the cities. The assessment included inventory and classification of sources, forms of access to sources, types and number of users in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Ninety eight percent of the self supply sources in the study area are hand dug wells. The design and construction features vary from protected, semi-protected to unprotected well structures. Forty five percent of the urban population is found to have access to either a restricted or free access hand dug well. The paper emphasizes the need to see self supply sources as the third angle, which completes the water supply triangle with the public and communal water systems as the other angles.

Keywords: self supply systems, water supply management, hand dug wells, urban area

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