Sustainable Water Development Program for Rural Nigeria

EPA Grant Number: SU834016
Title: Sustainable Water Development Program for Rural Nigeria
Investigators: Shannon, Mark A. , Ilo, Cajetan , Litchfield, Bruce
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Ebonyi State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: II
Project Period: August 15, 2008 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2008) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa face the most acute water supply challenges in the world. Nigeria, the most populous African country, has considerable populations without basic access to safe drinking water, with over 50% of the country lacking coverage. The village of Adu Achi, Oji River Local Government Area, Enugu State currently seeks to develop a gravity-fed distribution system, employing groundwater from the Ajali sandstone aquifer. The village and surrounding areas consist of approximately 10,000 people currently relying upon contaminated surface water 3km from households, on average. The lengthy dry season from November to March, the inconsistent quality of nearby surface water, and the traditional worship of the local water bodies have led groundwater to be selected as the source of supply. The main barriers to developing sustainable water provisions for the region are the lack of electricity, the depth of the aquifer (estimated at over 500 feet), informal government structures within the community, and economic support.


The purpose of this project is to improve human health and increase economic productivity of communities in rural Nigeria through environmentally sensitive design of community-based water supply systems.


In order to ensure adequate, consistent, and clean water supply to a large, economically-challenged population of 10,000, an innovative and comprehensive program must balance appropriate technical design and implementation of infrastructure elements, coupled with community oversight of how this infrastructure should be built and subsequent management of the system, concurrent with education programs to reduce existing gaps in technical understanding and basic sanitation practices.

Expected Results:

  1. Implementation of the water supply systems, including borehole drilling, generator installation, distribution system construction, and participatory community programs for rainwater harvesting and surface water protection. Further feasibility research of palm oil to be used as a substitute for diesel.
  2. Further research and implementation of community health objectives, examining the interaction between chlorine and cyanide as by-product of cassava washing and reduction of environmental wastewater impacts of cassava washing.
  3. Finalization and monitoring of community management oversight structure.
  4. Continuation and development of education programs within the community, collaborating with Nigerian students. Further leveraging of project benefits to extend learning opportunities to a broader audience, creating awareness and motivation for improving life for people, prosperity, and the planet

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

erosion, human health, disinfection, willingness to pay, cost-benefit, survey, hydrogeology, food processing, renewable energy,

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract
Phase 1 Final Report

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2009
  • Final Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    Sustainable Water Development Program for Rural Nigeria  | Final Report