NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 25, 2010 -- The amount of water available per person in Africa is declining and less than half of the continent's countries are on track to meet global targets to increase levels of basic sanitation.
New research compiled for the Africa Water Atlas by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) showed that only five countries in Africa are expected to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015. It showed that at present, only 26 of the continent's 53 countries are on track to attain the water-provision target.
The Atlas uses hundreds of 'before and after' shots, detailed new maps and satellite images from 53 countries to show the problems facing Africa's water supplies, such as the drying of Lake Chad and the erosion of the Nile Delta, as well as new, successful methods of conserving water.
This included how rainwater conservation is improving food security in drought-prone regions.
Prepared in cooperation with the African Union, European Union, US Department of State and United States Geological Survey, the 326-page atlas gathers information about the role of water in Africa's economies and development, health, food security, transboundary cooperation, capacity building and environmental change in one comprehensive and accessible volume.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP executive director, said: "The dramatic changes sweeping Africa linked with both positive and negative management of this continent's vital water resources is graphically brought home in this Atlas.
"From the dams triggering erosion on the Nile Delta to pollution in the Niger River Basin, the way infrastructure development or uncontrolled oil spills are impacting the lives and livelihoods of people are all brought into sharp relief," he said.
- Copies of the Africa Water Atlas can be purchased here.