Last week, we did a little research into water quality around the world, and discovered that, actually, we are very fortunate to live in the UK where we have some of the highest quality tap water on the entire planet.
Sadly, not every country is so fortunate.
As I’m sure you may have guessed, on the continent of Africa, findings show that the water quality, supply, and sustainability is the worst in the world. It is well known that Africa as a whole suffers greatly from a lack of economic development, but the main reason for the poverty is due to the lack of access to clean water - something which nearly each and every one of us takes for granted.
It is stated by www.unwater.org:
“Access to water and sanitation are recognized by the United Nations as human rights, reflecting the fundamental nature of these basics in every person’s life. Lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has a devastating effect on the health, dignity and prosperity of billions of people, and has significant consequences for the realization of other human rights.”
In 2018, it may seem alien to us that clean and safe water is still a dream for millions of people in Africa. Many still have to walk for up to an hour just to reach their nearest water supply, a job which usually falls to the women and children in each family. The typical Jerry Can used to fetch this water weighs around 40 lbs when full.
The International Human Rights Law is demanding that a specific focus needs to be placed on fixing this so that the country can function, and the people of these nations can, at last, have their basic human needs fulfilled. This, however, does not mean to say that every country in Africa lacks running water or safe water.
Over the years, many charities and organisations have installed pipework and pumps to help with the water crisis, focusing on schools, hospitals and other public buildings to help communities. Many governments in different countries soon saw the economic benefit of this, and thus the installation of running water suppliers were introduced in many buildings and homes. However, it is still the case that this supply gets interrupted in 60% of households, for sometimes days at a time - far from ideal.
That brings us onto the Congo River Basin, which is the largest source of freshwater in Africa. Countries surrounding the Basin use this source to fulfil their water needs. There are also many other water sources in the southern part of the continent, including Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. However, this water is not deemed “safe water” and is heavily polluted, making it unfit for consumption or sanitation. This water requires a lot of treatment to even make this acceptable by the lowest of standards; this can become very expensive. Again, far from ideal.