Water For Africa Essay

1394 words - 6 pages

Water is the most important element on the planet. Not only is it important for the earth, in general, but it is key to our survival. Leonardo Da Vinci has said, "Water is the driving force of all nature" (Roberts). It is the building block of life. The average person can survive about a week without water (Ogunjimi). Lack of water is increasing worldwide, but Africa is currently affected the most. It is the second driest out of the 7 continents, following Australia (“International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015”). Africa's water crisis is not solely based on the scarcity, but also the contamination of water and what actions can be taken towards the dilemma.
When the world was younger, ancient civilizations thrived. The key to their prosperity was water. These people knew their need for water, and the effects from living without it. Even small groups of people knew to settle by water; whether they were lakes or rivers. Egyptians living by the great Nile River, in Africa, flourished. Not all those who live in Africa today live by large sources of water. Many villages are located in or near deserts and do not have close access to freshwater. Some may travel miles to reach the nearest well.
As the climate steadily becomes more dry and warm, there is less water for the ever-increasing world population. Droughts have lasted years in Africa. Areas hit the hardest by drought are the rural areas and urban slums. Millions lack access to this necessity. By millions, "…more than 300 of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water scarce environment…" (UN). Throughout the years rainfall that usually comes, is coming less frequent. Without the steady supply of rain, water is getting harder to come by. A local chief, in Ethiopia, recalls having it rain only twice in one year (Waititu).
In addition, wells are drying up. In some areas wells are the only source of water. Pastoralists across the continent are losing cattle, with nothing to provide for them, due to the arid conditions. Along with the wells, natural springs are disappearing. Sand erosion is also causing wells to vanish. "In one village in just a few years, nine wells have been covered by sand erosion, and the village has no means of reclaiming them" (Waititu). Little has been done for the pastoral, or grazing livestock over the years. Lack of water has led to violent conflicts between villages. The fighting is caused by the competition for this life giving resource.
Over the years Africa’s population has grown, and is continuing to grow. In larger cities the people have access to clean water. There are exceptions, however. South Africa is roughly doubled the size of Texas, and is home to 49 million people (“Water Crisis in South Africa”). The Vaal River located there, a frequently visited tourist destination, is progressively becoming polluted. Sewage is affecting the wildlife in the river. This lack of sanitation is causing fish to die; even to the point...

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