Better Use of Groundwater Could Transform Africa, Research Says
Groundwater resources in sub-Saharan Africa are enough to transform agriculture in the region and provide people with adequate safe water for their drinking and hygiene needs, if the resource can be better managed, researchers have said.
Groundwater – found underground in aquifers, rocks and soils – makes up about 99% of all liquid freshwater on earth, and is abundant in much of Africa, but a lack of investment has left it untapped or poorly managed, two major studies have found. The reserves could be used for irrigation and to supply clean and safe water, but there is also a danger that if used unsustainably they could be rapidly depleted or polluted.
Tim Wainwright, the chief executive of WaterAid UK, the charity behind one of the reports, said: “Our findings debunk the myth that Africa is running out of water. But the tragedy is that millions of people on the continent still do not have enough clean water to drink. There are vast reserves of water right under people’s feet, many of which are replenished every year by rainfall and other surface water, but they can’t access it because services are chronically underfunded.”
Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.