“Kenya has been experiencing heavy rains since early March. Rivers have burst their banks and flooded villages, washing away homes, crops and bridges. Buildings have collapsed, vehicles been swept away and children buried alive in landslides.
“The semi-arid northern lands, where nomads roam with livestock and some half a million Somalis live in the world’s largest refugee camp, have been worst hit over the last two months. Kenya Red Cross Society says 26,558 people have been displaced in this region, while the coast is the second worst affected, with 24,787 displaced.
“Abbas Gullet, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross Society, lamented the fact that virtually all of the rainwater has poured into the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria, rather than being stored. During dry seasons, aid agencies spend millions trucking water to many of the same areas that are currently under floodwaters.”
Read more: Trust
“Lusitu, Zambia — Indigenous people who were displaced from the Zambezi Valley almost six decades ago for the construction of the Kariba Dam say they have not benefited from the development they made way for.
The building of the Kariba hydroelectric dam was supposed to usher in a bright future for the people of Zambia and Zimbabwe who gave up their land for its construction.
Unfortunately, that future was for others and not the displaced and their descendants. Most of the villages to which some 57,000 people from both southern African nations were relocated are still not electrified.
Sixty-nine-year-old Samson Nyowani was 15 when he was moved from his home in Chipepu, where the Kariba Dam now lies, to Sitikwi village in Zambia’s Lusitu district some 60 kilometres away. Sitikwi village, Nyowani says, still has no electricity, and the soil is infertile.
“We do not have power here in Sitikwi, and the schools and clinic are not electrified, which is a sad situation after what we were made to undergo during the mass relocation,” he tells IPS.”
Read more: All Africa
“The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is still a source of concern. Displaced persons in the north-east corner of the country lack food and water. The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are working to help people who have been affected by the conflict.
“The country is facing a difficult humanitarian situation,” said Jean Nicholas Marti, the head of the ICRC regional delegation for Mali and Niger. “In the northern region, access to drinking water is still a big worry for recently displaced people in Tinzawatene, close to the Algerian border and in some other towns such as Ménaka, Timbuktu or Gao.”
Teams of relief workers from the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have handed out jerrycans and water purification tablets to almost 5,400 displaced persons in Tinzawatene.
They are also repairing wells in the Akharabane and Achibriche areas, which are also near to the Algerian border, where there has been an influx of displaced persons. The situation is particularly worrying because residents are having to share their meagre resources with the newcomers.”
Read more: All Africa
“Each year brings new pressures on water. One-third of the world’s people already live in countries with moderate to high water stress. Competition is growing between farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country. Upstream and downstream, and across borders, we need to cooperate for the benefit of all – now and in the future,” “he added.
The General Assembly proclaimed 2013 International Year for Water Cooperation in 2010, following a proposal from Tajikistan. The Year will serve to raise awareness and prompt action on the multiple dimensions of water cooperation, such as sustainable and economic development, climate change and food security.
“Over-exploitation, management, financing of water resources, all of these aspects are incredibly important and cooperation at different levels is therefore critical,” UNESCO Science Specialist Ms. Ana Persic, said during a media briefing to mark the start of the Year at UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
Persic added that the benefits of intensifying cooperation include poverty reduction, equity, economic growth, and the protection of the environment.” “We know water is critical for human life, but it is also critical for life on Earth if we want to protect and sustainably manage the planet we have.”
Read more: All Africa
“After Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast of the United States late October 2012, millions of New Yorkers were left for days without electricity. But they still had access to drinking water, thanks to New York City’s reliance on protected watershed areas for potable water.
Instead of using electric-powered water treatment plans, New York City brings its high-quality drinking water through aqueducts connected to protected areas in the nearby Catskill/Delaware forests and wetlands – just one example of how protecting watersheds can provide residential areas with drinking water and flood and pollution protection at bargain basement prices.
New York saved between four and six billion dollars on the cost of water treatment plants by protecting forests and compensating farmers in the Catskills for reducing pollution in lakes and streams.
In 2011, countries around the world invested more than eight billion dollars in similar watershed projects around the world, according to the State of Watershed Payments 2012 report released Thursday. That year, China led the way, accounting for 91 percent of watershed investment.”
Read more: IPS
“China has made great efforts to support poverty reduction in Africa, and likes to present itself as a friend of the African people. But loans for contentious dam and irrigation projects now threaten to pull China into an explosive regional conflict between well-armed groups in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The Lower Omo Valley in south-west Ethiopia and Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya are marked by a harsh climate and unique, fragile ecosystems. They are home to 12 indigenous peoples, one of the largest remaining wildlife migrations, and some of the earliest remains of the human species.
The region is currently being transformed by one of Africa’s biggest and most controversial infrastructure ventures. Once completed, the Gibe III hydropower project will dam the Omo River to generate electricity with a capacity of 1,870 megawatts. It will also allow the irrigation of 2,450 square kilometres of sugar plantations, which are currently being developed on indigenous lands and in national parks.”
Read more: China Dialogue
“The cows raised at the Al Safi and Almarai farms live better than some humans in air-conditioned sheds and water misters that keep them cool. But feeding them with grain grown nearby has depleted 4/5th of the Kingdom’s ancient aquifer in the last 30 years. For milk. The farms are facing closure as a result of water shortages, but instead of giving up altogether, the Saudis are buying up land and water elsewhere – including the already vulnerable Nile.
The Nile was apportioned in 1929 by colonial powers, an issue that has created great tension among Nile River Basin countries in the last few years. Egypt relies almost entirely on this river for its population’s survival, but upstream countries feel that they have been shortchanged by that country’s monopoly.
Ethiopia has been particularly vociferous, though the main instigator of a slew of new dams and hydroelectricity projects, former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, died in August, 2012. But not before allowing Saudi Star, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al Amoudi, to purchase large tracts of land near the headwaters of the Nile in Gambela.
Member of the local Anuak Tribe talked to National Geographic about the firm’s usurpation of land and water. At the time of writing, the company was digging a canal to drain nearby wetlands and their 24,711 acre relies on a reservoir built in the 1980s by Soviet engineers.”
Read more: Green Prophet
“It is not just the coercive industries that are positioning themselves to profit from fears about the future. The commodities upon which life depends are being woven into new security narratives based on fears about scarcity, overpopulation and inequality. Increasing importance is attached to ‘food security’, ‘energy security’, ‘water security’ and so on, with little analysis of exactly what is being secured for whom, and at whose expense? But when perceived food insecurity in South Korea and Saudi Arabia is fuelling land grabs and exploitation in Africa, and rising food prices are causing widespread social unrest, alarm bells should be ringing.
The climate security discourse takes these outcomes for granted. It is predicated on winners and losers – the secure and the damned – and based on a vision of ‘security’ so warped by the ‘war on terror’ that it essentially envisages disposable people in place of the international solidarity so obviously required to face the future in a just and collaborative way.
To confront this ever creeping securitisation of our future, we must of course continue to fight to end our fossil fuel addiction as urgently as possible, joining movements like those fighting tar sands developments in North America and forming broad civic alliances that pressure towns, states and governments to transition their economies to a low-carbon footing. We can not stop climate change – it is already happening – but we can still prevent the worst effects.”
Read more: Alternet
Congo-Kinshasa: UNEP Launches Pioneering Water Initiative in DRC to Protect the Supply of Safe Water to Kinshasa
“UNEP has initiated a water scheme in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that aims to protect the Lukaya river basin that supplies almost 380,000 Kinshasa residents with safe drinking water.
The project builds on the recommendations of UNEP’s Post Conflict Environmental Assessment (PCEA) of the DRC – the full version of which was made available online in November 2012 – that identified 13 major “hot spots” of environmental degradation in and around urban centers in the country. Much of the environmental pressure is due to rapid population growth and unplanned development in urban areas that are also extremely poor and have inadequate basic infrastructure and local services.
The innovation of the pilot project – that will implement a practice called Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) – lies in the fact that it is the communities themselves who will lead the dialogue and coordination process, assess and reconcile water needs and set the priorities for effective water management accordingly. State and local authorities will also be engaged to help build capacity and disseminate the experience in other parts of the country.”
Read more: All Africa
“Nearly two million Malians live on the delta. “Everything here depends on the water,” said the mayor. “But”—and here he paused gravely, pushed his glasses down an elegant nose, and began waving a long finger—”the government is taking our water. They are giving it to foreign farmers. They don’t even ask us.”
What is happening here in Mali is happening all over the world. People who depend on the natural flow of water, and the burst of nature that comes with it, are losing out as powerful people upstream divert the water.
As the mayor talked in the schoolyard of Akka village, on an island in the heart of the Niger inland delta, women rushed around putting straw mats on the ground, and bringing bowls of food. By torchlight, we savored a supper of smoked fish, millet porridge, and green vegetables, all products of the waters around us.”
Read more: National Geographic
“Addis Ababa — Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have agreed to resume their tripartite cooperation under the Eastern Nile Basin.
The three nations had devised a joint institutional framework and been working together on Nile waters conservation and utilization since 1999.
Water resources ministers of the three nations have endorsed a resolution by their technical experts for the resumption of the operations of the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) which had not been functional for a period of time. Representatives of the Republic of South Sudan were also present during the agreement.
The Ministers also agreed on the occasion to discuss and approve in the near future South Sudan’s membership to ENTRO.
In a joint press briefing they gave after the meeting, the Ministers highlighted the pivotal role of the accord for conservation and utilization the Nile waters.”
Read more: All Africa
“In 2010 Egypt discussed taking military action in cooperation with Sudan against Ethiopia to protect their stake in Nile River, according to internal emails from the U.S. private-security firm Stratfor.
“Egypt and Sudan get 90 percent of the river’s water under colonial-era accords while upstream countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia have been clamoring for a new deal during more than a decade of talks.
“Sudanese president Umar al-Bashir has agreed to allow the Egyptians to build an a small airbase in Kusti to accommodate Egyptian commandos who might be sent to Ethiopia to destroy water facilities on the Blue Nile… It will be their option if everything else fails.
“The Blue Nile, which begins in Ethiopia, contributes about 85 percent of the flow that passes through Egypt to the Mediterranean.
“Ethiopia became an even bigger threat a month after the Egyptian Revolution toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 when they announced new details about the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
“In April of this year Bradley Hope of the The National reported that construction had begun and that the massive project ”could destabilize Egypt in a way that would make the last year of political upheaval look minuscule.”
“It would lead to political, economic and social instability,” Mohamed Nasr El Din Allam, Egypt’s minister of water and irrigation until early last year, told Hope. ”Millions of people would go hungry. There would be water shortages everywhere. It’s huge.”
Read more: Business Insider
“More than half of the European Union’s projects to provide safe drinking water
in sub-Saharan Africa failed to deliver, the EU’s audit watchdog said in a
report on Friday.
“The report by the European Court of Auditors examined 23 projects co-funded
by the EU in six African countries between 2001 and 2010. The audit found that
the projects, at a total cost of 400 million euros ($514 million), often lacked
sufficient supervision and that checks were not always carried out to ensure
that water was fit for human consumption.
“The authors said that while equipment was usually installed properly, local
communities did not receive enough support to manage the projects long
“Fewer than half of the projects examined delivered results meeting the beneficiaries’ needs,” the auditors said in a 43-page report.
“In one case in Nigeria, boreholes and pumps relied on an unreliable electricity grid, with diesel generators installed as back-ups. But the high cost of diesel meant that the back-ups were largely unused and towns returned to using unsafe sources of water.
“The EU spent 1.01 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa from 2001 to 2010, but the World Bank and the United Nations say that between $8 billion and $11.8 billion would be required each year until 2015 to reach the millennium goal on water and sanitation. ($1 = 0.7775 euros)”
read more: Reuters
“The decision to end the moratorium in South Africa, which may have the fifth largest supply of natural gas in the world, has ignited another phase of opposition to fracking, as citizens demand more research and public education.
The Karoo, an arid farming region in the Eastern Cape of the country is where most of the natural gas is located. People concerned about how fracking affects farming and the water supply have raised red flags about the ANC’s ties to Royal Dutch Shell, the largest stakeholder in the gas reserves, which has other political parties in South Africa crying foul.”
Read more: Alternet
“The Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo has ordered its residents to flush toilets at the same time once a week to prevent blockages during frequent periods of water rationing, the mayor said on Saturday.
“Bulawayo’s chronic water shortages force the city authorities to order rationing, which reduces the amount of water getting into the sewer system.
“We are going to have a big flush every Monday to push all the waste that would have accumulated during the water rationing,” said Thaba Moyo, mayor of Bulawayo.
“It means everybody has to flush their toilet at the stipulated time which will be 7:30pm. This is done to prevent any sewer blockages as we anticipate longer periods without water” in the sewer system, he said.
“He said residents could also flush their toilets at other times of day.
Currently the city rations water for 72 hours each week.
“Mr Moyo said Bulawayo’s chief engineer suggested the simultaneous flush.
“We are urging residents to bear with us as this is nobody’s fault,” Mr Moyo said.
“It’s a national problem. Most cities are having water shortages, and we are hoping that the supplies will last until the rainy season and pray that we have good rains.”
“Poor hygiene and sanitation have caused numerous disease outbreaks in Zimbabwe in recent years.
“The problem is especially acute in suburbs, some of which go for weeks without running water as cities battle to maintain services.”
Read more: ABC
“Cheap pumps and new ways of powering them are transforming farming and boosting income all over Africa and Asia,” says Meredith Giordano, lead author of a three-year research project looking at how smallholder farmers are turning their backs on governments and finding their own solutions to water problems.
“We were amazed at the scale of what is going on,” Giordano says. Indian farmers have an estimated 20 million pumps at work watering their fields. As many as 200 million Africans benefit from the crops they water. And in addition to pumps, she notes, “simple tools for drilling wells and capturing rainwater have enabled many farmers to produce more crops in the dry season, hugely boosting their incomes.”
Read more: Yale Environment 360
“The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and villagers living along Save River are seeking a court order to bar three diamond mining companies in Marange district from polluting water sources.
ZELA is a common law trust established to promote environmental justice in the country. In a High Court application last week, ZELA and the villagers alleged that Anjin Investments (Chinese corporation that recently replaced striking workers with child laborers), Marange Resources (owned by corrupt billionaire Mhlanga) and Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) were polluting Save, Singwizi and Odzi rivers with sewage, chemicals and metal deposits.
ZELA said the discharges by Anjin, Marange Resources and DMC exposed inhabitants of villages living along the banks of Odzi, Singwizi and Save Rivers to risks of contracting diseases such as cancer, cholera and typhoid.”
Read more: Earth First!
“As the weeklong international conference on water concluded Friday, it was left to one of the keynote speakers from the United Nations to focus on a much neglected perspective on water and food security: the role of women.
Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of U.N. Women, told delegates that development can be neither sustainable nor inclusive if it does not free women and girls from “carrying heavy buckets of water every day”.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 71 percent of the burden of collecting water for households falls on women and girls, says the U.N.’s 2012 report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Currently, women in sub-Saharan Africa spend an average of about 200 million hours per day collecting water, and a whopping 40 billion hours per year, according to the U.N. Development Programme.
“And that’s a billion with a B,” Puri emphasised to IPS hours after she made an impassioned plea for gender equality and women’s empowerment in relation to food and water security.
Speaking at the closing session of the conference, she pointed out that although women carry, literally and metaphorically, most water-related tasks – playing a key role in food production, especially in subsistence farming, and performing most of the unpaid care work -their participation in decision-making processes on water and food management remains very low.”
Read more: IPS
“In Kambuzuma, residents said they had had intermittent water supplies for two months. They said their taps were always dry, save for a few days, where the service was restored during the night, only for the taps to run dry before 5am.
Children found fetching water at a borehole in Kambuzuma Section 1 yesterday said they made several trips to the borehole in a single day, as they helped their parents with household chores.
Nine-year-old Tsitsi Tamangani, who is a Grade Four pupil at a primary school in the suburb, said she and her friends were not enjoying the schools holiday as they had to fetch water most of the time.”
Read more: All Africa
“As World Water Week kicks off, UNICEF says that despite tremendous progress in the last two decades in bringing access to improved drinking water sources to billions of people, finishing the task is not going to be easy.
“There have been outstanding gains in every region of the world,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. “However, the job is not done until every single person every day can get sufficient drinking water from a reliable source – and unfortunately the most difficult part is ahead.”
“Wijesekera cited a report, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, released earlier this year by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which says that between 1990 and 2010 more than 2 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water such as piped supplies, or protected wells. The report says the world reached the Millennium Development Goal on drinking water in 2010, five years ahead of schedule, but that 783 million people are still without access.
“According to the report, those still without access are the hardest to reach, being largely the poorest people in urban slums or deep rural areas.
“UNICEF says the most important step in providing universal access will be to address the inequities which exist in all regions and at all levels and where the poorest and women are most affected.”
Read more: All Africa
“Shell said on Friday it had contained oil leaked from a failed pump within a flowstation on Nigeria’s Nembe Creek though local residents disputed this, saying it had spread to mangrove swamps.
“There was no oil spill, and there was no impact on the environment,” said Precious Okolobo, spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), a joint venture majority owned by the state oil firm.
“The pump was immediately shut down. However, some oil escaped from the seal into the saver pit in the flowstation, with some sheen observed,” he said.
“A Reuters reporter on the scene saw spilled oil, some of it lapping against the roots of mangroves, but Nigerian Naval officers barred access to an area behind the flowstation where locals reported a large oil slick.
“We observed a crude oil slick and sheen along the creek and, it continued into the Brass River,” said Alabo Nengi James, an official in the Ewelesuo community of the Nembe Kingdom.
“Shell has not done any containment; no such signs at all.”
“Oil spills from equipment failures or loading accidents are common in the swampy Niger Delta region of Africa’s top energy producer.
“The Anglo-Dutch oil major says locals sometimes exaggerate the impact in the hope of boosting their compensation claims.
“A landmark U.N. report in August last year slammed the government and multinational oil companies, particularly Shell, for 50 years of oil pollution that has devastated the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta.
“The government and oil firms have pledged to clean up the region and other parts of the Delta, but residents say they have seen very little action.”
Read more: Reuters
“As droughts become more frequent and water shortages worsen, Kenya is seeing an increase in water thefts and other water-related crime, police records show.
The most common crimes are theft, muggings and illegal disconnections of water pipes by thieves who collect and sell the water. Many of the crimes occur in urban slums, which lack sufficient piped water.
“Since 2003, we have made piped water available to at least half of the slum residents in the entire country, but we are faced with severe hurdles as populations continue to grow and demand for the commodity continues to increase,” said Peter Mangich, acting director of water services in the Ministry of Water.
Police statistics show that in Kibera – Nairobi’s largest slum with over one and a half million inhabitants – there are as many as 75 reported incidences of water-related theft daily.”
Read more: AlertNet
“Water has always been one of the biggest problems besetting the City of Harare. Not only is money unavailable to ensure enough chemicals are bought to purify our water and to repair the dilapidated infrastructure, but also there has never been an interest on the part of the authorities to ensure that our sources of water are kept clean.
Indeed, Harare’s sources of water are the most polluted in the country due to industrial waste and nothing has been done to stop the wanton release into the river systems of this toxic waste, which makes it almost impossible to purify the water.
The worst polluters of the water system are known but we have not seen the same kind of enthusiasm and gusto on the part of authorities to stem this blatant poisoning of our water, such as we saw in the past few days.
While there should be no excuses for the recent mix-up, the manner in which the debacle was handled smacked of political intrigue rather than a genuine desire to safeguard the lives of Harare residents.”
Read more: All Africa
“At least 162 people in Harare and Chitungwiza have been treated for suspected typhoid, as Zimbabwe battles a resurgence of the waterborne disease that wreaked havoc late last year.
Harare City Council director of health services, Prosper Chonzi said the city recorded more than 100 cases of suspected typhoid by Friday, with most of them testing positive.
“To date over a 100 residents have been treated, 16 are admitted at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital and more are being treated as we speak,” he said. Chonzi said a permanent solution was needed to curb future typhoid outbreaks in the capital and its satellite town, Chitungwiza.
“A permanent solution will be for residents to access potable water every day and avoid erratic water shortages,” he said. Chonzi, however, was grateful that the latest outbreak was not spreading as fast as last year’s due to a change in weather.”
Read more: All Africa
“Disputes over water are common around the world, exacerbated by climate change, growing populations, rapid urbanisation, increased irrigation and a rising demand for alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity.
Following are a few of the regions where competition for water from major rivers systems is fuelling tension.
India is home to three major river systems — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus — which support 700 million people. As an upstream nation, it controls water flows to Bangladesh to the east and Pakistan to the west. The Indus supplies some 80 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated land.
India and Pakistan are both building hydropower dams in disputed Kashmir along Kishanganga river. Pakistan fears India’s dams will disrupt water flows.
India, for its part, is concerned that China is building dams along the Tsangpo river, which runs into India as the Brahmaputra.”
Read more: Reuters
“Bulawayo — Samukeliso Tshuma, a 33-year old mother of four, lives in one of Bulaway’s teeming high density urban townships, but these days gets her water the same way rural dwellers do – from a borehole well.
This is “something I never imagined I would be doing,” said Tshuma, who formerly relied on city-provided piped water.
Spare rainfall has hit water levels at dams supplying Zimbabwe’s second largest city with piped water, raising fears among municipal offers that supplies may soon run out, and leading to rationing and disconnection of some of the network.
That has left residents like Tshuma carrying water home – a way of life more common in rural areas.
“Like many others living in the city, we always associated boreholes with rural areas where women balance water cans on their heads and walk long distances in search of water,” said Tshuma after the Bulawayo municipality began a massive water disconnection and rationing exercise last month.
The Bulawayo municipality has over the years sunk boreholes across the sprawling city of 2 million as a response to increasingly low levels at the city’s five major supply dams.”
Read more: All Africa
“Unregulated water consumption at tourist resorts in Gambia threatens water access and livelihoods of the country’s residents, according to a report released Monday by the U.K.-based group Tourism Concern.
“Rachel Noble, the organization’s head of policy and research, said one of the biggest problems facing the West African country’s water supply is that tourism resorts, which consume vastly larger amounts of water than Gambians, are not properly monitored or regulated. Since normal channels of water access are not dependable, large hotels along the coast often build their own bore holes to fill up reservoirs.
“The problem is that, generally, this water is considered free, and it’s considered unlimited, which means that people aren’t paying for what they consume,” said Noble. “A vast majority of the [water] meters in the hotel are found not to be working, so hotels are paying the same amount regardless of their occupation level.”
“Tourism is one of Gambia’s biggest economic engines and Noble said the problem needs to be addressed in a way that will be best for both the industry and the country’s residents.
“It’s [tourism] vital for a country that’s trying to lift itself out of poverty,” she said. “But our key concerns relate to the way that tourism is being developed – lack of planning, lack of regulation, lack of awareness about water resources along the coast where tourism is located.”
Read more: Voa news
“It’s a little known fact that South Africa has some of the best quality water in the world for those who have access to it and can afford to pay for it. But the country is facing a looming water conflict and coal is right in the middle of it.
The quantity of water available for each person in the world is declining steadily. Nowhere is the rate of decline as dramatic as we continue to see in Africa. Chillingly, the estimates are that South Africa won’t be able to meet its water demand by as early as 2030.
In the face of this kind of future, surely every effort to avoid this impending crisis must be made? But that is simply not the case.
Two new mega coal-fired power stations (Medupi and Kusile) are being built by the national utility, Eskom and new coal mines are being approved without a clear view of what the water impacts are likely to be, or where the water will come from.
The reality is that local communities may well lose their water rights to make way for mines. Kusile will use 173 times more water than wind power would use per unit of electricity produced and Eskom gets a guaranteed supply of water, no matter what.”
Read more: SteelGuru
“A new water supply system has been inaugurated in Netia, in the district of Monapo in Mozambique’s northern province of Nampula.
“The rehabilitated small water supply system will provide clean drinking water for the 15,000 people living in the area. It has seven new water standpipes and nine boreholes equipped with manual pumps. In addition, 40 water sources have been rehabilitated along with four school toilet blocks.
“As a result of the improvements, 17 communities have been assessed to be free from open air defecation zone (LIFECA).
“According to a press release from the Embassy of the United States, the system is being overseen by water committees and a shop has stocks of spare parts to guarantee the system’s sustainability.
“The project was jointly launched in 2010 by USAID and the company Coca-Cola because of the low rate of coverage of clean drinking water in the province (which stood at 41 per cent).”
Read more: Allafrica
“Tucked away in Morocco’s high Atlas mountains the vast oasis of Errachidia, among the most beautiful in the south of the country, is today threatened by bad management.
“I dug four wells before finding water. Around me, the neighbours have no water. Before, there was water everywhere. That’s the will of God,” M’barek added, staring down at the stream carrying well water to the fields.
“For centuries the sharing out of water in the oasis, now threatened with drying out, was managed in the “khattara” tradition, whereby water towers were used and distribution took place according to need, in line with ancestral Berber rites.
“This system made it possible to maintain a regular flow of water all year round.
“From the 1970s, farmers have introduced water pumps, leading to the progressive depletion of the water table. Fields, once steadily cultivated and green, are now wasteland abandoned by the oasis dwellers.
“The outlines of the fields, you can see how big they are. Look, one, two, three, four meters (13 yards) wide. They are big, so that means there was lots of water,” said Lahcen Kabiri, professor of environmental geosciences at the University of Errachidia.
“Kabiri said the situation “could turn into a real catastrophe in light of the role of oases in the struggle against desertification.
“If the water runs out, then everything that depends on it will be in a dramatic situation. We will be up against an unprecedented ecological disaster.”
Read more: Phys
“A scramble for cheap African farmland by foreign investors threatens to leave millions of people without water and could ultimately drain the continent’s rivers, a report warns.
“If these land grabs are allowed to continue, Africa is heading for a hydrological suicide,” said the report’s co-author Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, an organisation supporting small farmers.
Foreign governments and wealthy individuals are snapping up millions of hectares of land on the continent for large-scale agriculture projects to grow food and biofuels for export.
But the report warns there is simply not enough water in Africa’s rivers and water tables to irrigate all the newly acquired land.
In some cases communities are already being moved off land to make way for these mega-projects. In others, the plantations will divert water from rivers that local people depend on for their own farming and everyday needs.
“Millions of Africans are in danger of losing access to the water sources they rely on for their livelihoods and for the survival of their communities,” Hobbelink said.”
Read more: AlertNet
“The Kunene Transboundary Water Supply Project — is a good model of trans-boundary cooperation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The KTWSP will improve the water supply for around 700,000 residents of southern Angola and northern Namibia, providing for domestic consumption, irrigation, and industry.
The project includes the rehabilitation of the Calueqe Dam in southern Angola, which suffered extensive damage during the country’s 27 years of civil war. So far, some 35 million dollars have been invested in the project, which is being funded by the Namibian and Angola governments and contributions from the UK, the German Development Bank and Australia.
Dr Kuiri Tjipangandjara, an engineer at the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) and co-Chair of the KTWSP, told IPS that construction of a new pipeline between the southern Angola towns of Xangongo and Ondjiva has already begun. This link will supply treated water to various towns and villages along its route, such as Namacunde, Santa-Clara and Chiedi.”
Read more: IPS
“Farmers near Abu Simbel, Egypt this week finally released more than 200 tourists that they had taken hostage to protest a water shortage, the Egypt Independent reported. The farmers claimed that they had been denied water to irrigate their crops, and they expect dry conditions to damage the 2,500 acres that they have planted.
Egypt relies extensively on irrigation from the Nile River to sustain its farmland, but its historical rights to Nile water are being increasingly challenged by its upstream neighbors. For example, Ethiopia is moving forward with its contested Grand Renaissance Dam, which would be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, CNN reported. Eighty-five percent of the water flowing to Egypt from the river originates in Ethiopia.”
Read more: Circle of Blue
“Ptolemy thought they were the source of the Nile and called them the Mountains of the Moon because of the perpetual mists that covered them; Stanley claimed to be the first non-African to see their icecap; and the many thousands of subsistence farmers who today live on the slopes of the fabled Rwenzori mountains in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo fear that warming temperatures are devastating their harvests.
While 20,000 people a year scale Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, just a handful of trekkers tackle the lower, 5,100m Rwenzori summits and witness the spectacular plant forms that grow in some of the wettest conditions on Earth. The result is that little is known about the condition of the many tropical glaciers that descend off the three peaks of mounts Baker, Speke and Africa’s third highest peak, Mount Stanley.
But last month, a micro-expedition led by London-based Danish photographer Klaus Thymann returned from Uganda with the best evidence yet that the 43 glaciers found and named in 1906 are still mostly there, but are in dire condition and can be expected to disappear in a decade or two.”
Read more: The Observer
“Shell, the biggest operator, says 150,000 barrels per day is stolen from Africa’s top oil producer. Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that as much as one-fifth of government revenue is lost to oil theft.
The small amount that is refined locally finds a ready market in a country whose legal refineries are largely defunct.
“We’re doing what they can’t,” quips one oil thief from his barge, a swipe at the Nigerian government’s failure to refine much of the fuel it produces because of decades of corruption.
Most of the theft happens on a larger scale, when coordinated groups of workers tap into oil infrastructure, siphoning crude into barges and motorboats before transporting the oil onto larger crafts a few miles offshore.
The complicity of corrupt security officials and politicians means this is unlikely to end any time soon, although President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has pledged to crack down.
Floating down waterways in Jonathan’s home state of Bayelsa, dozens of plumes of smoke are visible from micro-refineries.
The damage is incalculable: broken pipelines are abandoned and left to hemorrhage into the creeks, while deadly accidental fires desecrate several square kilometers of wetland vegetation.”
Read more: Reuters
“Maban — The UN refugee agency and its partners in eastern South Sudan are racing to move thousands of Sudanese refugees from the border into suitable inland sites amid increasing water shortages.
Community leaders have told UNHCR there are an estimated 20,000 refugees who fled conflict and food shortages in Sudan’s Blue Nile state and converged on the Elfoj border area of South Sudan’s Upper Nile state. Another 40,000 could be on their way.
Dungaz Tatalla, 56, and his family walked for 27 days from their village in Gabanid in Blue Nile. His 73-year-old mother has swollen feet and has not had a proper meal in days.
“The bombing of our village is what pushed us from Gabanid,” said Tatalla, leading the donkey that carried his exhausted mother to safety. “Our houses were burned down. People were being shot. There was nothing to stay for, especially because the whole village was leaving.”
Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North in Blue Nile has prevented villagers from farming and accessing food.”
Read more: All Africa
“The government now wants to develop the Inga III dam on the river, which will produce somewhere between 4000MW and 5000MW of electricity a year.
But the intentions of the DRC go well beyond this. Over time, it wants to develop the Grand Inga Dam project, which will provide 40000MW of electricity at a staggering cost of $80-billion to $100-billion. The dam will be twice as large as the Three Gorges Dam in China – the world’s largest in terms of electricity production.
The World Bank estimates that the Congo River, if properly used, could generate up to 100 000MW of electricity a year – enough to supply the entire Africa for decades to come.
When South Africa began running out of electricity from its ageing thermal plants at the beginning of this century, a new project, Westcor, was established in 2003 to bring the DRC’s vast hydroelectric resources to an increasingly energy-starved Southern Africa.”
Read more: Mail & Guardian
Post G-8 Wrap up: How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others
“Across Kenya’s many different ethnic groups, provinces and ecological zones, farmers agree on what they need most, and it isn’t help from Monsanto or Wal-Mart. It’s water. In arid and semi-arid areas, lack of water has always been an issue. But at least the two rainy seasons, the long rains between March and June, and the short rains between October and December, were consistent. During each rainy period, Kenyan farmers would grow a crop that had to last until the next harvest. But, according to farmer Florence Ogendi, the rains changed about five years ago. First the short rains became unreliable, and now they can’t even count on the long rains. In her area, the long rains used to come in late February, but this year they did not arrive until April.
Sometimes, water that used to be shared by all is now taken or polluted by a powerful few. Near Kitengela, an enormous flower farm has drilled wells to irrigate its crops, which are for export. With so much water going to irrigate flowers, the nearby Isinya River now runs dry. Elsewhere, Lake Naivasha suffers the same problem, also due to flower farms. And a day after Nderitu took his goats to graze near a local river, all five goats were dead. The autopsy revealed the deaths were from pesticides. Nderitu blames the enormous Del Monte pineapple plantation just across the river from where his goats grazed.”
Read more: Earth First!
“Kikwit is a town of almost one million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Its inhabitants have no access to electricity. Because the water pumps are no longer working, they have no access to clean water either. In the 1990s, the town made news through an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which was helped by the poor sanitary conditions.
Kikwit is not located at the end of the world. It lies underneath the power lines of the Inga dams on the mighty Congo River. Yet the electric current that hums overhead is not meant for poor people. It is exported to the mining companies in the southern Katanga province. Over the past decades, billions of dollars have been invested in the DRC’s power sector. They have created a stark energy divide: eighty-five percent of the country’s electricity is consumed by energy-intensive industries, while 94 percent of the population has no access to electricity.”
Read more: International Rivers