by Dr. Rob Hope, University of Oxford, Prof. Mashfiqus Salehin, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Dara Johnston, UNICEF Bangladesh , re-posted from REACH
A large concrete pipe belches untreated sewage into the Buriganga River in Dhaka, whilst men wade through the water to shift aggregate to construct more buildings for more people. The riverbanks team with life and colour as hospital bed sheets dry after being recently washed in the river, bamboo poles float-in-waiting for the next tower block and mountains of fresh fruit lie ready for sale in nearby markets while countless children play without a care in the water.
In Lagos, a city of over 17 million people, water demands are mainly being met from tapping the groundwater that lies beneath the city. Boreholes provide water directly at people’s homes or business premises. Borehole construction is being paid for by householders and businesses themselves. Water vendors, selling water in jerry cans or trucks are also prolific. Given the limited reach of the piped infrastructure, much of the water vended is likely to also originate from below ground. In fact, exploitation of the large, relatively shallow aquifers that lie below Lagos is one of the main reasons that the city can continue to grow at all.