Do we have drinking water in Benin?

September 2, 2015 – by Mélaine Awassi

Jogging would really do me some good…
It would help me get a bit of exercise.
That’s it, I’m doing it!
I run, and run, and run.
I’m thirsty…
I have a pressing need to quench my thirst.
Whew! Water, water.

Here’s a situation that drives me to satisfy my thirst. We all need water for our health, personal hygiene, clothing, and more. But access to drinking water in Benin remains rare for certain people.

How do we get clean water in Benin?

Water in urban areas

Eau Bénin 1


In the cities of Benin, a public company, the Benin Water Corporation (SONEB), supplies drinking water. But how?

In some cities, such as Cotonou, SONEB uses water from underground, or from a reservoir, such as in Djougou.

After pumping the water, SONEB treats it in various stages, using chemicals, before distributing it to urban homes through a network of pipes.

Yippee! Drinking water exists. I really want it in my home for many different needs.

To get water from SONEB, one has to first subscribe to the service and pay a fee for monthly water consumption.

The price by cubic meters is based on the total consumption each 30 days and is as follows:

  • Equal to or less than 5m3

– Level 1: from 0 to 5m3: 198 FCFA ($0.45 CAD)/m3, tax exempt.

  • More than 5m3

– Level 2: from 0 to 50m3: 453 FCFA ($1.02 CAD)/m3, subject to a tax of 18%.

– Level 3: more than 50 m3: 658 FCFA ($1.48 CAD)/m3, subject to a tax of 18%.


Bénin eau 2


I don’t have the means to pay for a subscription to SONEB. So, I’m going to do what those who aren’t subscribed, but still use SONEB drinking water, do.

They buy water from people who resell SONEB water at significant rates. The price of a basin of water, with about a 27-litre capacity, is from 25 to 35 FCFA ($0.06 to $0.08 CAD) depending on the zone, which comes out to about $3/m3.

One problem is that buyers don’t cover their basins and leave them open as they transport them to their homes. This lack of hygiene pollutes the water before it is consumed.


Certain homes do have wells, which some use for only domestic tasks, where in others, it serves as a source of both drinking water and for household use.

Water in rural areas

In the countryside in Benin, the General Directorate of Water (DG Eau), another public service, manages drinking water sources.

Access to drinking water is provided in one of these ways:

  • Simple (well or borehole) with a pump
  • Independent Water Supply Point
  • Village water supply

These facilities are frequently provided by donations or by the State of Benin, with the support of development partners. In contrast, some areas don’t have access to any drinking water facilities, and must use water from rivers or streams, where the quality is very poor.

Bénin eau 3

What can you do to help people who don’t have access to clean drinking water sources? Share your ideas with Ecoloodi, by writing us a message.

Read this page in: French