Water scarcity is caused by either a lack of water or a lack of safe water. The majority of us take clean and safe drinking water for granted. In undeveloped areas, a reliable source of safe water may be difficult to come by. This is referred to as economic scarcity. It is possible to locate water, but it will require additional effort and money.
In some locations, water scarcity is a more serious problem. There is simply insufficient of everything. For instance, the term “physical scarcity” is used to allude to this occurrence. Water scarcity is becoming an increasing problem. Costs and effort associated with developing or maintaining water access will increase as more people demand more from a restricted resource. And as the situation deteriorates, the role of water in preserving social and political order will only grow more critical.
Water scarcity in African countries
Overburdened water systems in Sub-Saharan Africa are feeling the strain of expanding urbanization. Domestic and cross-border violence have been provoked in some instances by the interruption or pollution of water supplies in rural and urban infrastructures. Economic stability and public health in the region, according to experts, will improve if economic development integrates water conservation measures.
Water supply shortage results to contamination, drought, or a breakdown in distribution channels. Côte d’Ivoire split four years ago, resulting in unpaid water bills, creating a serious wellbeing hazard in the region and growing the danger of water-borne diseases. Distributor difficulties could have been a strategic plan to boost pressure on the country’s rebel-led north.
Impact of water scarcity on availability of food in African countries
Food demand and water shortage are being worsened by Africa’s growing population and agricultural sector. Food staples and export crops are usually produced inefficiently, consuming more water and yielding less than the global average.
Agribusiness is the primary source of wealth in Africa’s economies, which is primarily focused on agriculture. Agriculture and livestock production account for a significant portion of total water consumption in all countries. A large number of crops are heavily depending on rainfall. Rice and sugar cane are the two crops that receive the most irrigation in these seven countries, with rice receiving the biggest amount. It is inefficiently used water and land resources to grow staple food crops, which have a higher water footprint than the global average. It is possible to improve food and economic security by increasing the efficiency with which water and land are used for agricultural cultivation.
Increased water and land productivity would result in a higher export value for the same amount of water and land consumed in the production of essential export crops. For example, sugar cane cultivated in Kenya consumes six times less water per tonne than sugar cane grown globally, but sugar cane grown in Mozambique consumes six times as much water as sugar cane grown globally.
Mozambique could produce four times as much sugar cane with the same amount of water if it adhered to the global water footprint guidelines. Additionally, Kenyan tea production is more efficient than the world average. Throughout the year, portions of Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, and Mozambique suffer from severe water scarcity. Each of the seven countries relies on its water resources to produce both exports and imports. Among the countries analyzed, only Ethiopia is a net exporter of blue water. In other words, the country generates more revenue through exports than it does from imports. For the rest of the world, blue water is a virtual import.
Impacts of water scarcity on Health in African countries
Water, sanitation, and hygiene services are especially vital at healthcare institutions, where patients and personnel are more susceptible to infection and disease (Hasan et al., 2019). In low-income countries, the proportion of patients who contract an infection during their hospital stay is significantly more than the global average of 15%. While diarrhea is the most prevalent symptom of contaminated food or drink, there are other hazards. Acute and chronic illness caused by parasitic worms contracted by contact with contaminated water is estimated to affect 240 million people worldwide.
Clean water can serve as a breeding site for some of these insects, dubbed vectors, and home drinking water containers can act as breeding grounds for these pests. Along with minimizing vector reproduction, covering water storage containers may have the added benefit of preventing fecal contamination of domestic water.
Impacts of water scarcity on economy of African countries
Individuals can be more productive if they are not need to spend as much time and effort collecting water as they otherwise would. Personal safety can be enhanced by avoiding dangerous water collection trips. Due to water constraint, the majority of African countries are experiencing food shortages and rising commodities prices. This has a long-term effect on the economy, and can result in societal unrest. Agriculture, both rain-fed and irrigated, as well as animals, and food processing enterprises, are all directly impacted by water scarcity.
Hasan, E., Tarhule, A., Hong, Y., & Moore, B. (2019). Assessment of physical water scarcity in Africa using GRACE and TRMM satellite data. Remote Sensing, 11(8), 904.