Africa: Major water problems. www.thinkquest.org ORACLE Foundation.
Africa’s water resources are scattered throughout the continent. While some areas receive more than enough water, others experience constant drought. In the Horn of Africa and the Namibian Desert, almost no water falls. Meanwhile, the western part of the continent near the equator receives as much as 4,000 millimetres annually.
In the continent falls majority somewhere between these two extremes. Average areas receive anywhere from 200 to 800 millimetres of annual rainfall. Unfortunately for many of the plants and animals in the area, droughts are commons. Droughts lasting up to five years are a common problem on the continent. Three of four Africans use the groundwater as their main water supply. The groundwater is not always available though as it accounts for only 15% of the continent’s water supply. There are also serious concerns about the quality of the groundwater.
Perhaps the greatest cause of Africa’s problem of water shortage is that the continent cannot effectively utilize its resources. Though approximately 4 trillion cubic meters of water is available every year, only about 4% of that is used. The continent and its people lack the technical knowledge and financial resources needed to access their water supplies. Lack of access to water is a larger problem in Africa than anywhere else. Of the 25 nations in the world with the greatest percentage of people lacking access to safe drinking water, 19 are in Africa.