Severe water shortage sees Dakar residents dig wells on the beach

The wells dug on the beach are about two metres deep. Photo taken by our Observer Mamadou.
 
Just one month after Senegal endured massive floods, the capital is grappling with a dire water shortage. Following two weeks without water, residents of Dakar’s Yoff neighbourhood have dug wells along the beach to obtain fresh water. But there is no guarantee that it is fit to drink.
 
According to the Sénégalaise des Eaux, the company in charge of sourcing and distributing water, a broken pipeline caused the shortage. Repairs have been ongoing for two weeks now without any results. The residents of the affected neighbourhoods are becoming increasingly desperate and are now working together to find solutions to this latest crisis.
 
Photo taken by our Observer Mamadou.
 
Mamadou is a medical student who lives in Dakar's Yoff neighbourhood.
 
In order to obtain drinking water, the residents of Yoff have started digging wells on the beach. We’re used to resorting to this when water shortages occur. Luckily, this doesn’t happen too often.
 
People dug wells about two metres deep, about 25 metres out from the sea. I personally don’t drink this water; I only use it to bathe and to clean my house. Otherwise, I go buy mineral water. But not everyone has the financial resources to do so.
 
Photo prise par notre Observateur Mamadou.
 
It remains to be seen whether the water from the wells so close to the sea is actually safe to drink. Paul, a resident of Yoff, told FRANCE 24 that there are rumours about salt in the water, which would make it unfit to drink. “If you build a well on the beach, it’s almost impossible to have safe drinking water”, says an executive working in the water sector. “The water you will get will be brackish and salty. Most people only use it to bathe. But it’s not surprising that some people drink it, especially since mineral water is starting to become scarce.”
 
Photo taken by our Observer Mamadou.
 
Senegalese authorities seem well aware of the situation. During a visit to a water treatment plants, Senegal’s prime minister, Aminata Touré, said the situation was “inadmissible”. He also said that “sanctions will be meted out” to those found responsible. 
 
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist François-Damien Bourgery (@FDBourgery).
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