Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso is part of:
Africa · Western Africa ·
Water Basins of Burkina Faso:
Komoe · Niger Basin · Volta ·

Facts & Figures edit
Capital Ouagadougou
Neighbouring Countries Benin, Cote d Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo
Total Area 274,200 km2
  - Water 400 km2 (0.15%) / 15 m2/ha
  - Land 273,800 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 13,227,840 (48 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.372 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 39.5 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $8,242 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $1,300
National UN Presence FAO, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, WB, UNIDO
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 48,955 km2 (17.88%)
     - Arable 48,353 km2 (17.66%)
     - Permanent Crops 602 km2 (0.22%)
     - Irrigated 250 km2
  - Non cultivated 252 km2 (82.12%)
Average Annual RainfallD 748 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 17.5 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 0.8 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 86%
  - For Domestic Use 13%
  - For Industrial Use 1%
  - Per Capita 71 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 61%
     - Urban population 94%
     - Rural population 54%
  - Improved Sanitation 13%
     - Urban population 42%
     - Rural population 6%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends



Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 175 out of 177 according to the United Nations. To compound the problem, much of the country lies within the expanding Sahel, where a trend of diminishing rainfall amounts have meant longer, more intense droughts and flooding during large rain events. The slow demise of rainfall-dependent agricultural livelihoods in rural areas has caused a steady rise of rural immigration to urban and peri-urban areas in the capital, Ouagadougou and other large urban areas.

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Burkina Faso's progress towards the Water and Sanitation MDGs 1990-2008 and progress to achieve the MDGs
Burkina Faso's progress towards the Water and Sanitation MDGs 1990-2008 and progress to achieve the MDGs

Over 86% of water used in Burkina Faso goes to agriculture, and only 13% to domestic water use. The total area equipped for irrigation is 25,000 hectares, only 0.5% of cultivated land. Much of this irrigated land is contained in large-scale irrigation projects founded by the French. Water quality in rural areas is threatened by excessive use of agrochemicals and threatened in urban areas by the lack of sanitation and sewerage facilities. In 2004, 61% of Burkina Faso’s population had access to an improved water source – 54% of those in rural areas and 94% in urban areas. There is significantly less access to improved sanitation facilities: only 13% of the population has access, including 6% of those in rural areas and 42% of those in urban areas.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Key Agencies in Burkina Faso Water Sector
Key Agencies in Burkina Faso Water Sector

The Water Management Policy Act of 2001 introduced principles of integrated water resources management. The Act requires compensation to be given to those who lose land tenure rights (including customary rights) because of “improvements” like irrigation. The Act does not refer directly to water rights, however, and does not recognize customary water rights. Decree 220 of 2003 lays out an action plan for implementing integrated water resources management.

Burkina Faso adopted an action plan for integrated water resources management (PAGIRE) in 2003. The action plan laid out the decentralization of the WSS sector over the next six years. In 2004, the government adopted the General Charter of Territorial Collectives (CGCT) which dictated that water supply service in rural areas would become the responsbility of local communities. However, the legal framework and technical plan to transfer authority have not been fully developed. This has slowed the implementation of the CGCT. In constrast, the sanitation sub-sector has seen the adoption of strategic sanitation plans in Ouagadougou and Bobo Diolasso and the development of a national sanitation plan for the rest the country.

While sanitation planning is occuring, defining the institutional roles of key agencies in the WSS sector remains to be completed. Institutional roles defining the delivery of urban WSS services are well-defined. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries is responsible for hydro-agriculture development and inland valley resources. Within this Ministry, the Autorité de la Mise en Valeur de la Vallée du Sourou (AMVS) is in charge of the irrigation structures within the Sourou Valley. The National Water and Sanitation Utility (ONEA) provides domestic water supply.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


USAID has not indicated that water is a priority in its aid to Burkina Faso. The MCC’s Agriculture Development Project in Burkina Faso includes a Water Management and Irrigation Project Activity, supporting the implementation of integrated water resources management plans for the Sourou Valley and Comoé Basin, rehabilitating other infrastructure, and developing new irrigation schemes. One of the pillars of World Bank support has been improved access to basic social services, including increased access to clean water and sanitation.


Population growth in peri-urban settlements of greater than 5,000 persons will continue to place pressure on existing water supply and sanitation (WSS) systems as investments and the capacity to manage the systems fall behind. In contrast, urban areas are relatively well-served by the National Office of Water and Sanitation (ONEA). Major constraints that the WSS sector must overcome include the expansion of water supply and especially sanitation service to rural and rapidly growing peri-urban areas. All WSS service providers including ONEA require significant investments in human resources, financial management, and procurement systems.

Conflicts between administrative, regulatory, and sanitation service delivery responsibilities are little defined. In addition, the relationship between Burkina Faso’s poverty reduction strategy and the WSS sector remains weak. Budget allocations for the sector still remain low since much of the allocation has gone to increase water supply through reservoir construction rather than WSS service delivery. In particular, attention to developing the sanitation sub-sector had been largely omitted from Burkina Faso’s poverty reduction strategy. It was not until specific WSS targets were adopted under Burkina Faso’s MDG roadmap that greater access to sanitation facilities was included in national WSS policies. Yet with the MDG roadmap, Burkina Faso’s investment in sanitation is relatively low in comparison to drinking water development; therefore, improvements in the sanitation sub-sector may not occur until the government adopts a national sanitation plan and designates the legal framework for service providers to grow and operate. In 2007, the estimated cost to meet the MDG goals for access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities required an annual investment of $78 million for water and $28.25 million for sanitation. By comparison, the 2007 public budget for WSS sector improvements amounted to only $13.3 million for water and $3.96 million for sanitation. Despite these figures, overall WSS service to urban areas has been well-managed by ONEA, but many challenges remain, particularly in expanding access to sanitation facililities and comprehensive WSS rural subsector development.


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Projects and Case Studies

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5 most recently updated publications on Burkina Faso
  1. Why Sanitation and Water Supply are Important to Growth and Development in Burkina Faso ‎(1,116 views) . . Katy.norman

5 most popular publications on Burkina Faso
  1. Why Sanitation and Water Supply are Important to Growth and Development in Burkina Faso ‎(1,116 views) . . Katy.norman

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Who is Who

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Organizations working in Burkina Faso
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See also

Why Sanitation and Water Supply are Important to Growth and Development in Burkina Faso

External Resources




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