Water crisis looming in Africa
Major cities in Africa, including Johannesburg, will accommodate a total of about 200 million people within 20 years, according to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.
Andre Dzikus, a spokesperson for the organisation, said Africa had become the continent with the fastest-growing population, and he estimates that the continent’s population will rise to 500 million by 2020.
He said this increasing concentration of people was already putting pressure on water resources.
He added there were countries in Africa that were already rationing water supplies to residents.
"In some cities, there are already intermittent water supplies.
People get water only during the day or at night – some receive water only twice a week," he said.
The Programme to Manage Water for African Cities is aimed at effectively addressing the growing urban water crisis and protecting the resource and its aquatic systems against pollution from cities.
Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Ronnie Kasrils said almost half of Africa’s people did not receive adequate water or sanitation services.
Governments had to guard against becoming only regulators of water supplies and should move towards allowing private/public partnerships to take on the task of water provision – but at a profit, Kasrils warned.
Delegates from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Zambia, South Africa and Kenya are on study visits to Windhoek, Johannesburg and Durban to gain first-hand knowledge of local water management practices.