Groundwater is Important in Addressing Water Insecurity in sub- Saharan Africa

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Photo: Riccardo Lennart/ iStock

This year’s World Water Day was commemorated on March 22, under the theme “Groundwater, making the invisible visible”. A day set aside to bring attention to everyone on matters affecting water provision and access to safe water, as well as raise awareness about the importance of water in our lives and educate people to conserve it.

Access to safe water and sanitation has been a fundamental right recognized by the United Nations (UN) and Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is still a major challenge in sub- Saharan Africa.

While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation in Africa, still one in every three people across Africa face water scarcity, and approximately 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are denied access to clean and safe water.

Among the challenges that have made access to clean and safe water not be achieved include; climate change, population growth, natural calamities such as droughts and floods, overuse and wastage of water, increased human consumption, and global rise in freshwater demand. Water is a key ingredient for livelihoods, and groundwater has provided an alternative in addressing access to safe water and sanitation in rural and urban areas in Africa.

According to the UN World Water Development Report 2022,  “Groundwater already provides half of the volume of water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population, including drinking water for the vast majority of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them via public or private supply systems, and around 25% of all water withdrawn for irrigation”.

“Groundwater is central to, the fight against poverty, food and water security, creation of decent jobs, socio-economic development, and resilience of societies and economies to climate change. Reliance on groundwater is increasing due to the  growing water demand by all sectors combined with increasing variation in rainfall patterns.” 

Groundwater resources are important sources of drinking water in Africa, and they are extremely important in sustaining livelihoods and supporting a diverse range of agricultural and commercial activities. Groundwater has a significate role in improving people’s health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Call to Action

African governments need to develop policies in regards to water resource management and protect groundwater resources. As well as, increase funds allocation to help tackle water crisis and ensure that everybody access clean water

Development Actors to support developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the realization of Goal 6 of the UN SDGs, where everybody accesses safe and clean water and water security, through financing African government and institutions supporting address water scarcity and access to safe water to all.