Swaziland Water

Swaziland is a small country about the size of Wales surrounded by South Africa to the north, south and west and Mozambique to the east. It has a sub-tropical climate with about 75% of total rainfall occurring from October to March, during which time Malaria is highly prevalent.

In addition to rainfall, Swaziland has four main rivers to help its water supply; Swaziland Waterthe Komati and Lomati river systems originates in South Africa then bend through Swaziland before flowing back into South Africa and then into Mozambique; the Mbuluzi River (right) originates in Swaziland and flows out into Mozambique.

The Usuthu River again originates in South Africa and flows out into Mozambique whilst the Ngwavuma, in the south of the country, rises in Swaziland itself and flows into South Africa. These rivers are home to nine major dams with seven being used for irrigation purposes, one for hydroelectric purposes and just one for water supply.

Swaziland Pit LatrineThese rivers together with unprotected wells are the main source of water for most inhabitants in Swaziland, particularly in rural communities where only 42% have access to tap water (rising to 87% in urban areas), however the water in these rivers in often contaminated and its use contributes to 80% of all sickness and diseases in Swaziland, claiming the lives of one in ten children under the age of 5yrs old.

Sanitation is also a major issue with 59% of the population using pit latrines (left) in the absence of any proper facilities, and, again, this leads to health issues. Climate change is also affecting the water situation in Swaziland. A drought in 2007 was so severe that it was declared a national disaster; maize production was 61% down on the previous year and an estimated 410,000 were in need of humanitarian aid as a result.

Water in SwazilandThis drought also had an indirect impact on the HIV situation in the country as patients ceased taking anti-retroviral drugs in the absence of food and the worst affected areas reported significant increases in violence, school absences, skin diseases, diarrhoea and child abuse.

Water droughts have also seen a change to subsistence farming with ongoing declining harvests leading to those working on the land moving away from growing the Swazi staple crop of maize (introduced there in 1820 from the neighbouring Portuguese colony of Mozambique) to 'cash crops' such as cotton. The difference being that traditionally crops were grown to eat, whereas now many grow crops to sell to purchase food.

This video, whilst promoting a water product, gives a useful insight into the water situation in Swaziland.


Swaziland Rivers: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

Rivers in Swaziland

Water in Swaziland

Swaziland Water

Swaziland Water

Swaziland Water

Swaziland Water



Volunteer Work Swaziland

Check out all the latest African volunteer work placements and opportunities in Swaziland.
More >


Swaziland Water This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Swaziland Water

Exploring the water situation in Swaziland where only 42% of rural communities have access to safe drinking water together with a video documentary.


Volunteer Work

African Volunteer Work Opportunities

Get Your
Free Listing!

African Volunteer Directory

Latest TEFL
Jobs in Africa

TEFL Jobs in Africa

Sponsor a Child

Sponsor a Child