Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019

Water shortage: A Global Problem?

Whenever there is rain in Kano, I see many both young boys and girls rushing with buckets and other plastic containers for the water. What I leant was due to problem of water scarcity in the city and mostly all part of Kano state people are yeaning to see more rains as an alternative for tap water.

Children spent hours waiting to fetch water from few available boreholes and ‘deepest’ wells mostly running out of water. Most of them are not going to their schools because of the longer stay experience in the borehole and wells sides due to long queue of buckets.

Will access to water be the major problem of the 21st century? In India’s Chennai,  south-east India, the reservoirs are currently almost empty, and thirsty inhabitants. Last year, Cape Town, South Africa, was preparing for the famous “zero day”, the day the water will no longer flow from the tap.

In some places in Kano and other north western states like Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi spent more than 2 years without water flow from the tap. You can see many taps in Kano now became the ‘shackles for the sheep and goats’. What went wrong, all these are the impact of climate change or what?

Nearly a quarter of human beings are threatened by water scarcity. This is the alarming finding of the World Resources Institute (WRI ), which released a report on world water resources on August 6th 2019.

The map prepared by the American think tank in WRI report measures the risks of water scarcity, drought and river floods around the world. Several countries, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, are under water stress. In other words: the demand for water is greater than the quantity available.

The 17 most affected countries are Qatar, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, United Arab Emirates, San Marino, Bahrain, Pakistan , Turkmenistan, Oman, Botswana and India, the second most populous country in the world.

According to the World Resources Institute, ”  agriculture, industry, and municipalities absorb 80% of the available area and groundwater in an average year  ” in these countries where the situation is particularly critical.

”  The water shortage is the biggest crisis that nobody talks about,  ” says institute CEO Andrew Steer. The consequences are multiple: food insecurity, conflicts, migration, financial instability, etc.

According to the report, water withdrawals worldwide have more than doubled since the 1960s, due to growing demand. ”  When demand rivals reserves, even small droughts, which will increase with climate change, can have terrible consequences,  ” the institute notes.

Even Europe is not spared, twenty-seven other countries are on the list of countries with “high water scarcity”, including European countries such as Belgium (23rd position), Greece (26th) and Spain (28th). France is in 59th position (medium-high risk category)

”  The situation is very serious in some parts of the world, but not hopeless,  ” says Franck Galland. ”  Really bold political decisions, important and innovative financial instruments, technology and human expertise are needed to manage water supply systems more effectively . ”

In March 2021, the World Water Forum will take place in Dakar Senegal. The theme of this 9th edition, the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, will be “Water Security for Peace and Development”.

We hoped the researchers will come up with new solutions to tackle the problem of water shortage for the sake of humanity.


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