Quantifying Available Water Supply in Rural Mali based on Data Collected by and from Women

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Water development planning requires both technical and social considerations. Water is gathered and used predominantly by women in rural areas of developing countries, yet they are not always included in the development planning. A hydrogeological study was undertaken to estimate the sustainable yield from a shallow aquifer while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in a Malian village (population 1200). This study required "pumping" tests to determine the hydraulic properties of the aquifer. Village women provided assistance by hand-drawing (bailing) water from wells at a near constant rate. Local women also participated in water-use interviews that were used to identify community water needs. The pumping test and survey data were used in computational models of the subsurface hydrology to determine the effectiveness of pump installation. Two electrically powered pumps, atop drilled wells, separated by at least 500 m, could be used to supply the village water needs (50,000 L/day) instead of the 64 dug wells currently in use, many of which have poor quality and unreliable production. This study shows that local women can be a practical resource for water-related data in water resource planning.

Publisher's Statement

© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Cleaner Production