Friday, May 25, 2012

Water problems in Africa and around the world

Water is life and without water there is very little and in most cases no life at all. When you talk about lack of water in developing countries, most times people think about lack of water for domestic purposes besides drinking but the problem is worse in some developing countries. In some poor countries around the world, people walk several miles a day just to get a cup of water to quench their thirst and the saddest part is that, children and those who cannot walk such long distances often suffer and die from severe dehydration.

Here an interesting post I came across online while searching.
"While the global picture for water management is far from encouraging, that of Africa is much worse. 300 million Africans do not have access to safe water. The inability to be able to obtain clean water, and the illnesses that result from poor sanitation, keep people poor.

This year an outbreak of cholera in the neighboring West African countries of Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger has infected nearly 4,000 people and killed more than 260 others since May 2010. The UN health agency blames the epidemic on poor hygiene and inadequate access to clean water. Sadly, cholera is easily preventable with the proper sanitation and clean water, but these basic things are not available in many West African villages.

Creating clean & safe water supplies may be aggravated by several new threats, including climate change, the negative fallout from military conflicts and boundary disputes. An example of this last problem affects Egypt, which gets almost all of their fresh water from the Nile. The country would be a scarcely habitable desert without the Nile’s water, but recently most of the countries that occupy the Nile’s headwaters signed an agreement granting them greater control of the river and removing a colonial-era veto, held by Egypt for more than 50 years. Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have all signed this new agreement, made necessary by their rapid population growth. Farmers in northern Egypt protested the lack of water, but their water shortages garner little sympathy from a country such as Ethiopia, where millions face drought and famine. Ethiopia has the necessary resources to build the infrastructure and dams it wants on the Nile water. The only positive way forward is to for the “Nile countries” to pursue unilateral water development projects.

Meanwhile, Africa has seemingly abundant water resources that are not being efficiently utilized. With 17 large rivers and more than 160 major lakes, Africa only uses about 4 per cent of its total annual renewable water resources for agriculture, industry and domestic purposes. The challenge lies in getting water to where it is needed most, affordably and efficiently.

While some governments hide behind the lack of money, some expert’s say how the money is being spent is not effective. Many governments deal with the provision of water and sanitation as a single, separate entity rather than part of a broad development agenda encompassing education, women's empowerment, community participation, nurturing efficient markets and building human resources. This is because government officials often do not consider water to be an engine for economic development, Sanitation is a very local, household and individual issue, yet too often solutions are being implemented from a top-down government approach, without involving people. However, communal action can not be a substitute for effective public policy. While NGOs like FAWCO can support local efforts, the commitment to creating an infrastructure for clean water and sanitation is a governmental requirement"

credits: Faoco

1 comment:

  1. Wish this was newer, but hey I run a world issues blog over at wordpress if you'd like to check it out sometime!