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Rainwater Harvesting And Management Can Enhance Water Supply. Why Is It Not Being Done?

Occasional Debate April 12, 2017

While many countries in Africa are reported to experience shortages of water for domestic as well as non-domestic uses including agricultural, livestock and even wildlife uses, the same countries or at least most of them, are also known to receive enough rainfall to supply the water requirements of many times more their current populations. The problem, however, is the rainwater is not adequately harvested or stored so that it could be used during dry seasons. In many African countries, rainwater received during rain seasons is left to flow away to inhabitable parts of the countries, or into oceans. Scientific evidence suggests that if rainwater potential in Africa is exploited through appropriate rainwater harvesting and management measures like construction of ponds and small scale dams, water shortages in many countries could be reduced considerably. In Kenya for instance, studies by World Agroforestry Centre in collaboration with United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, show that although the country with its per capita water of less than 600 cubic meters is one of chronically water scarce nations in the world, it, however, receives enough rainfall to meet the water needs of about 5 times its current population, if rainwater was captured and stored. More specifically, the studies show that Kenya's rainwater potential is more than 350 billion cubic meters, implying that if rainwater were to be captured and managed properly, it could support a population of 233 million people that is about 5 times the existing Kenya's population! The case of Kenya applies to many other countries in the region, like Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, perhaps even Somalia, etc. The question is why is rainwater in many countries in Africa not been harnessed to meet prevailing water needs? Construction of water ponds and small scale dams across seasonal rivers does not require sophisticated technology and financial resources, so why is it not been done? These are very crucial questions that we think deserve a public debate. _______________________________ © 2015 - 2020 Africauptodate. All Rights Reserved

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