Hotspots and Hopespots: Points of Intervention
From ““Hotspots” and “Hopespots” for Africa’s Water Challenges Outlined in New Water Atlas” by Matt Styslinger:
Africa faces growing challenges to its water resources. Many of these challenges have been laid out in the new Africa Water Atlas from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Atlas uses over 224 maps and 104 satellite images from 53 countries to detail threats to Africa’s water supplies—such as the drying of Lake Chad in the Sahel and the erosion of the Nile Delta in Egypt—as well as increasing water scarcity as a result of climate change. According to the Atlas, the amount of available water per person in Africa is well below the global average and declining. A majority of Africans are dependent on rainfed agriculture, and scientists are predicting that by 2020 between 75 and 250 million people in Africa will live in conditions of increased water stress from climate change.
“The dramatic changes sweeping Africa linked with both positive and negative management of this continent’s vital water resources is graphically brought home in this Atlas,” says United Nation’s Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. Steiner also notes that the Atlas brings “into sharp relief” the way in which infrastructure development and environmental degradation are impacting African livelihoods. “But so too are the many attempts towards sustainable management of freshwaters,” he says.
Agriculture is the biggest user of water in Africa and only 4 percent of cultivated land in sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated. The Atlas maps out new solutions and water management success stories from across the continent in what the UNEP calls “hopespots.”
Read the full article by Matt Styslinger