African Cities Are Running Out Of Water

Saving Water : African Cities Are Running Out Of Water

African cities are experiencing devastating water shortages as their populations continue to grow.

One of every three people in Africa is affected by water scarcity – the circumstance in which a region’s available water supply isn’t enough to meet demand. In nations like Ghana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, water shortages can raise people’s risk of getting sick, since when water is in short supply, households often hoard the precious resource indoors, creating a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Water is also needed to run toilets and basic sanitation facilities. In its absence, residents are often forced to defecate in rivers, a practice that contaminates fresh water with bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

African Cities Are Running Out Of Water

That’s the case even in major cities like Nairobi, Kenya, and Accra, the capital city of Ghana, which are becoming more dense and urbanized.

Between 2016 and 2050, Africa’s population is expected to double, with 80% of new residents located in urban areas.


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This growth could provide new economic opportunities and higher living standards for urban residents – but only if cities are equipped to handle the strain on their water resources.

The African Development Bank estimated last year that it would require as much as $66 billion to provide universal access to water, sanitation across Africa. That doesn’t include the more than $170 billion needed to build critical infrastructure like dams and purification plants.

Without these resources in place, cities like Cape Town, South Africa could find themselves ill-equipped to deal with drought – and might eventually run out of water.

20 Tips On Saving Water At Home, Reducing Use

It starts out as rain or snow and flows into our local lakes, rivers, and streams or into underground aquifers. You can learn more about water in your state, including how it is being protected and where your local drinking water comes from.

1. Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work of running errands.


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2. Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This can also help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories. For example, during the school day students should have access to drinking water, giving them a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.


3. Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.


4. Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.


5. Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.


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6. Consider replacing old equipment (like toilets, dishwahers and laundry machines).


7. When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water.


8. Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).


9. When buying a dishwasher, select one with a “light-wash” option.


10. Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave and soap up in the shower. Fill the sink to shave.


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11. Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, your toilet is leaking.


12. When purchasing a new washing machine, buy a water saving model that can be adjusted to the load size.


13. Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue). Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in New England and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.


14. When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.


15. Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.


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16. Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.


17. Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).


18. When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).


19. Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.


20. Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.


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