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In 1998 the Department for International Development (DFID) funded the project ‘Groundwater drought early warning for vulnerable areas’ as part of the DFID Knowledge and Research (KaR) programme, a collaboration between UK partners BGS and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and with the Bureau of Water, Mines and Energy in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Drawing on village surveys and stakeholder consultations across sectors, this project evolved a broader, more holistic approach to the study of drought and water supply. Rather than focus exclusively on drought and water availability, constraints on household access to and use of water were explored through the lens of water security. This, in turn, highlighted links between the household water economy (across seasons; between good and bad years) and wider livelihood strategies, particularly in relation to inter-dependencies between food and water security.
The data are transcripts of qualitative community surveys carried out in Amuria (A) and Katakwi (K) districts, north-eastern Uganda, as part of a pilot project looking at causes of borehole/hand pump failure in rural areas. The community survey was designed to collected basic information on community water use, reconstruct the history of the water point and explore the socio-institutional factors that may have contributed to non-functionality. Key topics included: community engagement in planning and construction of the water point, access to the water point (and alternative water sources), water quality and yield (including seasonality), mechanical failures and repairs, water point management and by-laws, and fees and finances. The survey took the form of a semi-structured group discussion, guided by a set of questions covering the key topics. Each survey took 2-3 hours. Surveys were conducted for 24 water points. Participants included both water users and Water Point Committee (WPC) members. There were no restrictions on who from the community could participate in the discussion, hence numbers varied. The focus groups were facilitated by local NGO staff familiar with the districts, and guided by researchers from the Overseas Development Institute. The transcripts were produced from the detailed handwritten notes taken by the researchers during the group discussions, with the support of translators. The community surveys should be viewed as complementary to the technical investigations conducted at the borehole.