<ul><li>Like in many villages throughout the arid Sahel region of West Africa, a source of water is often the most animated place in town. At a given time 20 people might gather at a well, stretching their backs and arms in the harsh sun to hoist a few buckets of water from dozens of metres below the parched earth. </li></ul><ul><li>In the village of Toroli in Mali, 10-year-old Amadou waits for his father while sitting on the family's camel instead of going to school. As his father, Brahima Barry, a Fulani shepherd, explains, Amadou has to help the family gather water. The well is located several kilometres from their home. </li></ul><ul><li>"We have to go to the well to get water for both the family and the animals," Barry said. "If water was more accessible, it would change a lot of things in my life.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the water scarcity in Toroli, 200km from the regional capital, Mopti, Barry's son misses school to help transport the water back home on the camel during several trips. Poor water quality affects the family's health and its finances if someone falls sick from contaminated water and needs to go to a clinic. </li></ul><ul><li>At least half of all deaths in Mali are caused by diarrhoea and malnutrition-related causes, according to a demographic and health survey commissioned by the government in 2005. </li></ul>
"Finding water takes most of people's time," said Mathias Diassana, head doctor of the health centre in Koro, 150km from Mopti. "Often women spend more than five hours per day getting water for domestic use" while men spend time gathering water for livestock. There are two traditional wells in Toroli and two water pumps, which have better quality. This water, however, is not free. Purchasing water poses a heavy burden on many Malians, most of whom survive on less than US$2 per day, according to the United Nations. With water so scarce in the 79,000 sq km of the Mopti region, people look for whatever sources they can find. The water table is usually more than 60 meters deep and some water points have dried up altogether because of the drought. As a result people look to water sources that are easier to access. "In this region, there are many places that do not have water points, even some health centres do not have water," said Diassana. "This is why people...are getting water from natural ponds and this is not good - it brings public health problems.“ In the village health center in Koro, Diassana said that diarrhoea is the most common ailment after malaria.
Describe the pattern of rainfall variation in the Sahel from the graph above