The remote riverine communities of the Niger Delta inhabit a rich tropical rainforest ecosystem, surrounded by ‘water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink’. Only the deepest boreholes provide reliably clean drinking water, but power is not readily available to pump it to the surface. While solar energy presents itself as an effective solution, numerous failed solar water projects in the Delta have lent this option the reputation of being unworkable. This paper describes how the Niger Delta Wetlands Centre (NDWC) has tried to find the most effective ways to provide potable water using solar-powered systems, and to understand the challenges – both technical and socio-economic that must be overcome for communities to sustain them.
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