Groundwater has been estimated to provide almost half of all drinking water worldwide with 2.5 billion people depending solely on this resource to satisfy their water needs. Besides domestic needs, groundwater is also key for irrigated agriculture and indirectly for food security, as well as for industrial purposes. Groundwater for household use can be accessed in many ways. It can be drawn or pumped from a single well which are one’s own or belong to a community, a neighbor, or an NGO. It can be abstracted from well-fields or springs and provided as part of a public or private utility’s reticulated water supply system. In some cases, groundwater is used only for domestic purposes than drinking, because the water quality is perceived as sub-standard and adequate point of use-treatment methods are not employed by end-users.
In rural areas, boreholes (self-supply), for the abstraction of groundwater, may be connected to a ’water ATM’ or the groundwater is delivered through kiosks, standpipes or informal vendors carts and tankers. Broadly there are three self-supply scenarios:
- rural areas, with population density too low to warrant municipal or externally funded water supply;
- rural areas that are difficult or expensive to reach by government or development agencies;
- some rapidly expanding cities and their outskirts (peri-urban areas) where individual households and/or communities organize their own drinking water access.