Africa Is Tackling Their Water Challenges Head On!

Everything starts with water on our planet. Water is life. Africa is tackling their water challenges. Human presence totally depends upon it. Water, the only greatest power to drive industrialization, health, and gender equality throughout the continent.

Water is about all facets of human development and remains the single biggest power to drive industrialization and health around the world.  But it’s easy to take water for granted. We often believe water problems only exist in rural areas and urban slums.

However, for the first time, a major international city — Cape Town — could probably run out of water. It has been dubbed day zero (0) — the day once the taps could run dry, and thousands of people may struggle to find water to do everyday tasks like bathing, cleaning, and cooking.

If you have access to clean drinking water, running taps, and a shower in your house, you are in the lucky group.

  • Water relates to all facets of human development.
  • 663 million people on earth live without clean water.
  • 1 in 3 people does not have a decent toilet.
  • 1 in 9 do not have clean water near their home.

Clean and safe water is essential to healthful living, irrespective of where you live. Since the pressures of global population growth and climate change continue, the conversation about clean & safe water is very likely to become more prevalent.

What’s The Scale of Africa’s Water Problems?

In Africa, water is a challenge. Access to clean water is always a challenge in parts of the continent, and it has serious health and sanitation consequences.

Every part of the continent seems to face its own challenges linked to the water crisis, and the situation is far from perfect for anybody.

Rural Communities

The rural areas of Africa are likely the most severely affected by a lack of clean drinking water. In these areas of the continent, people need to walk miles each day to obtain any water in any respect, and the water they do find is usually packed with pollution and contaminants.

These communities are usually hotbeds of disease because there’s absolutely no sanitary way to help cure people who fall sick.

They usually don’t have access to toilets or some other way to eliminate waste. Hence, as a single individual gets ill with diarrhea, it quickly spreads to others from the area, resulting from terrible water.

Urban Areas

Many urban areas still do not have dedicated procedures for cleaning up the water source before using it.

The lack of waste removal options or plumbing causes germs, parasites, and other contaminants to build of quickly and harm the water source.

Unfortunately, water pressure is a large issue in these areas, as enormous populations put high demands on surface water resources slowly dwindling.


Agriculture puts a big strain on the water supply while causing it to be even more polluted than usual.

The agricultural industry uses surface water much more frequently than groundwater. This practice is leading to the drying up of large bodies of water and rivers throughout the continent.


From freshwater woods to saline lakes and large floodplains, Africa’s wetlands are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.  They perform important ecological functions like filtering water and enhancing air quality.

Rapid urbanization, pollution, draining for agriculture, and climate change challenges are threatening wetlands throughout the continent.  Other regions feel the strain of the water crisis in Africa, and it is safe to assume that everybody and everywhere is influenced by it somehow.

For the first time, a major worldwide city will probably run out of water.

‘Day Zero’ — The Day When The Taps Run Dry

Regardless of the depth and the width of the challenges at hand, solutions are within reach.  Innovation, technology, and training are crucial parts of creating sustainable alternatives.

Many organizations are building Renewable, community-owned water projects to help deal with the water situation in Africa.

Communities are working collectively to solve their water problems:

  • Community managed latrines
  • Gravity-fed schemes
  • Hand-dug wells
  • Rehabbed wells
  • Bore-hole wells
  • Solar disinfection systems
  • Hand pumps
  • household sanitation
  • Fog harvesting
  • Portable water purification
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Sanitation and hygiene practices
  • Springwater protection
  • Sand dams
  • Urban pit waste management
  • Wastewater treatment

Water Collection Solution Named Hippo Roller

The Hippo Water Roller was found and developed by two South Africans, Johan Jonker, and Pettie Petzer, back in 1991, in response to the daily battle of rural women and children across Africa to get safe, drinkable water. They both understood the water crisis’s impacts on daily life.

Nearly 1 billion people in Africa Battle for access to water. According to the Water Project, this is equivalent to one in eight of the world’s inhabitants. Water supplies are usually many miles from the village. Women and kids must travel to collect water and take full buckets back home.

However, solutions such as the Hippo Roller are helping revolutionize this procedure.

When water distribution points are as much as 10 km (6 miles) distance away from the residence, water is usually carried in 20-liter (5 gallons) buckets set on top of heads. The Hippo Roller is an easy solution that allows the people who collect water to accumulate as many as five times more.

The Hippo Roller is a 90-liter container that’s rolled along the floor. The water collectors are usually women, elders, and kids. Rather than being transported on the head, as usual, the water is rolled–either pulled or pushed. This enables more people to access water, which enhances food safety and income generation.

The Hippo Roller Project was started in 1994 with the mission of “helping communities to increase access to water 90 liters at a time.”

As of Sept. 2015, there were 46,000 Hippo Rollers distributed in 20 nations. This has helped 300,000 individuals in families where the average size is seven. The ability to roll up the water rather than carrying it reduces injuries and provides more time for school and other things.

Grant Gibbs, Project Leader for Hippo Water Roller Project, clarifies that women in rural Africa can spend around 26 percent of the time collecting water. This automatically includes the kids. When girls can accumulate more water at one time, they could spend more of the day on other critical tasks. When kids are required less to collect water, they could go to school.

The invention of carrying more water more efficiently makes more “time available for household tasks, education, and food production.” The plan allows for hygienic collection and storage of water and even irrigation of plants.


Mark Algra of Cape Town made Aquatrap conserve water using recycled tires. Algra has been implementing his design at neighborhood schools.

The Aquatrap Project is an innovation made by Mark Algra that uses old car tires buried in the ground to conserve feed and water its root systems. It’s simple to make, and all the components are available at no cost.

“I wondered if a false water table could be created after seeing how badly water difficulties affected Africa. I made and buried the first two Aquatraps and purchased a cheap moisture meter to measure and track the results. They pointed to a 50% water saving,” says Algra.

The Aquatrap is produced by simply taking out the sidewalls from automobile tires and filling the hole with a disk made from an old car or truck inner tube. Once they’ve been buried, they continue to the water and stop nourishment leeching off quickly, particularly in sandy soil, encouraging faster and healthier growth of vegetables and plants.

“Rubber is a natural insulator and generates a stable temperature zone under the soil surface, so heat is stored in the soil more and cold is kept out, making for ideal growing conditions,” states Algra.

He helps teach children how to conserve water by supplying them with the knowledge they can take home and discuss with their families and communities.

“Cabbages grew at Lizo Nobanda Daycare Centre in Khayelitsha with the Aquatraps the size of soccer balls. The cabbages alongside them with no cubes were the size of cricket balls and used the same quantity of water.”

The innovation was snapped up from the Quaker Peace Group for their Nyanga community food garden, leading to Nazareth House, Abalimi Bezekhaya, Pelican Park Main, and Constantia Primary School, among many others implementing it successfully.

“Aquatrap products create opportunities for people to convert and recycle tires into useful products that could be resold, installed, and used,” says Agra. “Over time, it has proven to save enormous amounts of water.”

The mix of alternatives can balance competing demands on the finite resource and help make sure that Africa can meet its water needs both now and in the future.

Water, the only greatest power to drive industrialization, education, and health throughout the continent.

As Africa and the world braces for the influences of dwindling water sources, the continent needs its inventors, thinkers, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs.

We need a mix of solutions that can balance competing demands on our insufficient water resources and ensure that Africa can satisfy its water needs both now and in the future.

It’s a wonderful time to be both concerned and excited about water.

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