Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 408


Municipal drinking water source protection in low income countries: Case of Buea municipality- Cameroon

Fidelis Folifac1*, Lydia Lifongo2, George Nkeng2, 3 and Susan Gaskin4
1School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Canada. 2Department of Chemistry, University of Buea, Cameroon. 3Director, National Advanced School of Public Works, Yaoundé, Cameroon. 4Department of Civil Engineering, McGill University, Canada.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 June 2009
  •  Published: 31 July 2009


Source water contamination poses a risk to public health and increases the cost of drinking water treatment. Source water protection is a proactive approach for the enhancement of drinking water quality and quantity. A combination of research methods (desk review, interviews and reconnaissance field appraisal) have been used to identify major drinking water sources in Buea, land use activities which constitute potential threats and pathways of contamination of these sources as well as the capacity for source water protection in Buea.  Our findings revealed that anthropogenic activities around the six major drinking water sources studied present visible potential threats and pathways for contamination, and that source water protection has not been given adequate attention in the planning and development of Buea.  The potential human and social capacities are limited by the lack of financial and technical resources. This is further compounded by the fact that institutional arrangement does not facilitate the integration of land and water management at the local level. A framework for local strategic multi-stakeholder source water protection with the potential to foster leadership, pull together available resources from different stakeholders and reduce potential resistance to the integration of land and water management has been proposed. There is an urgent need for the adoption of a precautionary approach and research to develop baseline data that will enable comprehensive source water protection measures.   


Key words: Source water protection, drinking water, water contamination, public health, stakeholders, buea, Cameroon.