Groundwater plays a role in providing domestic supplies to the rural population in many countries in SSA. According to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) statistics, groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for both humans and livestock in the driest areas of SADC, and it is estimated that about 60% of the population depends on groundwater resources for domestic water. In the Limpopo River water management area in South Africa rural domestic supply accounts for 55 million cubic metres of groundwater abstracted, or just more than 20% of all groundwater abstracted. Admittedly, groundwater resources in SSA are modest, but are sufficient and important at local levels as they are the main resource for water supply for rural populations, e.g. in parts of rural Zimbabwe, Mozambique (Juizo, 2005), Zambia and Botswana). Although precise numbers are lacking, it is likely that most domestic water supply in rural SSA is currently from groundwater and that expansion in rural supplies in the near future will likely be from groundwater sources. Further, within the rural sector, domestic use, rather than agriculture or livestock, appears to account for the vast majority of demand. This was true, for example, in all cases examined in SSA with the exception of South Africa (Obuobie and Giordano, forthcoming). Groundwater thus provides the foundation for rural livelihood whether or not it is directly used in agricultural or livestock production.
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