Water

Africa must invest in green water management to tackle drought, fight hunger

In the water-deficient regions of SSA, management of scarce rainfall must form an integral part of the development agenda, experts added

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 30 August 2016

Rainfall is the ultimate source of water for dryland agriculture as limited blue water (rivers and streams) will be needed for increased urban water supply, industry and energy production
Credit: Feed My Starving Children/Flickr

On the occasion of the 26th annual World Water Week in Stockholm, experts urged for a Green Water Initiative to bring about water revolution in Africa. This, they feel, will alleviate hunger in the continent and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to experts, rainwater harvesting and other green water management methods are key to alleviating hunger in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region.

Green water is the part of rainfall that infiltrates into and is stored in the soil. “Large parts of the world are struggling to adapt to a drier reality, but challenges are especially dire in Africa’s drylands. Africa’s climate is its Achilles Heel,” Malin Falkenmark, senior scientific advisor to the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), said. SIWI is a policy institute working for a water-wise world.

In the water-deficient regions of SSA, management of scarce rainfall must form an integral part of the development agenda, experts added.

The vast drylands encircling the Congo Basin are home to some 750 million people, a number that is expected to increase to 1.6 billion in the next 35 years. Agricultural yields in the region are low, on an average around one tonne per hectare, as a result of frequent droughts.

To meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2, Africa needs a triple green revolution: green for productive use of green water, green for intensification and enhanced food production and green for sustainability and building water resilience in watersheds.

Rainfall is the ultimate source of water for dryland agriculture as limited blue water (rivers and streams) will be needed for increased urban water supply, industry and energy production.

To finance the initiative, experts proposed water harvesting innovation fund for Africa.

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