Residents of Mpissa in Brazzaville wait near a water point.
Drinking water should be plentiful in Congo-Brazzaville, yet most people living in the country's capital are forced to resort to private wells. Not only does the Congo have abundant groundwater resources, it's also bordered by the one of the world's most powerful rivers. But power failures coupled with an insufficient water supply mean that many of Brazzaville's residents have no other choice.
This lack of basic infrastructure has led to severe water shortages in a country that paradoxically receives plenty of rainfall. In rural areas, only 10% of people have access to clean water. The situation is far worse in towns and cities, where 50% of the urban population can't access safe drinking water.
According to a Global Water Partnership
report, the Congo lacks “production infrastructure [factories, pumping stations], water treatment systems [chemical products to treat the water], storage capacity [water towers], and distribution infrastructure [pipes and water fountains]." As a result, for the most part residents get their water through informal networks such as private water wells.
Satellite image. Brazzaville and Kinshasa, separated by the Congo river.
“In the cities, women carry water containers on their heads like they did when we lived in villages!”