Population growth and expansion of industries both result in increasing water demand. Recent droughts experienced in several parts of the world including countries in Sub-Saharan Africa further exacerbate the shortfall between water availability and demand. This will impact largely on water access of poor and marginalised people in low-income countries. Urban regions will be affected the most as according to current rates of urbanisation, the urban population on the continent is projected to double by 2030. Access to safe drinking water will thus continue to be a problem in cities across Africa.
Access to water is a cross-cutting issue that affects a number of local government sectors and is infused in social, economic, political and ecological processes. Threats of reduced access in the future make it imperative for governments to put in place innovative systems to address the problem. Water governance and in particular, an integrated approach to planning for both water resources and water management is emerging as an important pathway to address the challenge. This practice brings together NGOs, traditional communities, businesses, the different spheres of government in partnerships to ensure that water is managed effectively. Increasingly, there is a lot of emphasis on an integrated approach to management of water at the local level as that is the sphere of government closest to the people and often mandated to deliver portable water to local residents. It is also at this level where it is easier to engage and raise awareness of communities to the importance of efficient water use and in the process positively influence behaviour.
For a practical example of a project focussing on sustainable and integrated approaches to urban water management please click here.
This project is co-financed as part of the European Commission funded ACCESSanitation and SURe Water 4 Africa projects.
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