A child dies every minute from a waterborne disease, and he or she most likely lives in sub-Saharan Africa. Millions of people in the region don’t have access to clean water and thus face the risk of diarrhoea or other deadly water-related diseases.
Ensuring that the world’s food needs are met by 2050 will take a doubling of global food production1. To improve agricultural yields on that scale will require a radical rethink of global water-management strategies and policies. Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicentre of this challenge.
In South Sudan, it is not uncommon for women to walk two hours each way, every day, to get water. We have seen injuries sustained by young children as they try and pump water for their families. In the West, it is hard for us to imagine how difficult getting water is for families. Water is mainly gathered by women and sometimes children.
The 22nd of March every year marks international Water Day. As the world celebrates its most important life-giving natural resource, it is important to take stock of Africa’s water challenges and opportunities. Water is the pre-condition for life and the sustainable management of water is fundamental to achieving Africa’s development goals.
One of the most notable changes in modern times is the rapid urbanization of our planet, which began in the 19th century. While in 1950, 29 percent of the global population lived in cities, that figure is estimated now at 50 percent and by 2030 it will reach 61 percent.
As global mining booms amid ever-increasing demand for rare earth minerals and land, more poor farmers are having livelihoods threatened. Areas around farmlands are often needed for processing the mined rocks and building the tailings dam needed for storing the toxic wastewater,
People and animals in the Galgagud, Hiran and Mudug regions of central Somalia have been hit by an acute water shortage after almost a year without proper rainfall.
The Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality in Carolina in Mpumalanga has called on residents to use tap water provided by the municipality.
Over 170,000 people in Africa are already planning to take part in walks for water in 25 countries including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Madagascar in the month of March this year.