The Paradox Of Free Urban Water: Burkina Faso’s Fight Against Covid-19

By Catherine Baron Léandre Guigma

As soon as the first cases of Covid-19 were reported in Burkina Faso, the national government drew up a Response Plan, which, among other measures, made water free at standpipes and for “social tariff” recipients in urban areas. The government assessed the financing needs of running this program and solicited donor assistance. This chapter analyzes the consequences of these measures on the public water operator, l’Office national de l’eau et de l’assainissement (ONEA), which plans to ensure the supply of drinking water to as many urban households as possible by 2030. We also report on a survey conducted in Bissighin – an “irregular” neighborhood of the capital city, Ouagadougou – which documents how households have (or have not) appropriated these measures and the strategies they have developed to ensure their water supply in the context of the pandemic.

Read the full chapter here.

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