West African nations such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, and the more Central African Zimbabwe face many issues due to lack of water supply in their major cities.
Increasing population growth and unreliable climate change are rendering people helpless as, for the most part, they do not have the financial means to build or fix water infrastructure.
Even nations with plentiful water resources may be unable to build sufficient dams, pipelines, pumping stations, and purification plants to ensure adequate supply.
A study published by the African Development Bank last year found the continent needs to spend at least $130 billion to address an infrastructure backlog, including as much as $66 billion on providing universal access to water and sanitation but faces a financing gap of $68 billion to $108 billion.
In Accra, Ghana, there has been a water shortage for two years, and many citizens have been forced to either hike miles to gather water from wells and rivers, then carry it back into the urban city centers, or pay high fees to buy water from tankers that pass through and sell water in bulk.
This is not sustainable as people cannot go about their livelihoods in the cities if they are forced to spend half a day fetching water, which is extremely tiring and time-consuming.
The state-owned utility, Ghana Water Co. is aware of the issues but cannot manage to keep on top of development.
New settlements are being constructed faster than they can provide infrastructure, which continues the cycle. Most people are relying on rainfall and collecting as much rainwater as possible in plastic containers for storage.
With more and more people predicted to relocate from rural areas into the cities over the next thirty years, this problem really needs a more permanent solution.
Africa’s water infrastructure and supply shortfall have already shown severe impacts on its Economy. Sub-Saharan Africa loses 5% of its annual GDP because of poor access to drinking water and sanitation.
Africa News reports that a South African-based engineering firm, Khato Civils, will help the continent expand and develop its water infrastructure and have announced ambitious plans to tackle Africa’s infrastructure problems.
Khato Civils Chairman Simbi Phiri said that food shortages in the region are linked to its underdeveloped land and waterways, and solving the water infrastructure problem will also solve food insecurity.
To unleash economic benefits, the government needs to accelerate infrastructure projects with political will at the center of it, according to Khato Civils Chief Executive Officer Mongezi Mnyani.
According to the report, the engineering firm has started to roll-out the government’s critical infrastructure projects in Africa, such as Botswana’s 100km Pipeline Project, Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant Botswana, a joint venture with South Zambezi, Lake Malawi water supply project.