The groundbreaking solution to water scarcity
Access to safe water and sanitation is critical to human health. Safe water reduces poverty and contributes to a society’s economy, stability, and security. Currently, 1 in 4 people lack access to safe drinking water, and it is estimated that more than 1 million people die each year as a result of unsafe water.
The world has made progress in the last five years. But, unfortunately, this has been very slow. Safe water access has only increased by 4% over five years. This is too slow to reach universal access by 2030. If progress continues at these rates, we will only reach 82% by 2030.
Africa has the highest percentage of its population lacking access to safe water. For years, it was reported and believed that this is due to water scarcity. However, according to a report released by Wateraid and British Geological Survey, groundwater resources in sub-Saharan Africa are believed to have enough to provide people with safe water for their drinking and hygiene needs while transforming agriculture.
Agriculture is the single most important economic activity in Africa, employing about two-thirds of the working population. Yet, the UN’s annual World Water Development Report found that only 3% of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa was equipped for irrigation, and only 5% of that area used groundwater, even though groundwater is often abundant in the region.
Tapping into Africa’s groundwater could change the continent’s access to safe water for the better, but – as seen in Wateraid and British Geological Survey’s report – investments in infrastructure and extraction must be made to avoid more water scarcity or prevent further hygiene-related diseases.
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