Whenever I travel, I take time to observe the water systems in each country and region. Studying and knowing water opens you to the hidden stories, history, and civilization of the people.
More than ever before, water access is becoming a global problem that needs close attention. This is especially true in developing and rapidly urbanizing countries in Africa, which are already water scarce, with 411 million people having no access to safe drinking water.
Africa is fast becoming in dire need of water. Some of the key reasons are both natural, due to active desertification, low rainfall, and changes in migratory patterns, all attributed to climate change.
In addition, Africa is one of the fastest-developing continents, with 5 out of the 10 fastest-growing economies being in Africa. Africa is also the fastest-growing in terms of population, with more and more of this mostly young population demanding more food, more infrastructure, more housing, and more energy with better living standards.
These factors are all at the single nexus of the availability of fresh water to support the increased demand for food production, drinking, industries, and more.
The current challenges are a mix of underdeveloped or overly old and unmaintained water infrastructure. But looking ahead, the challenge is more than meets the immediate eye.
Already, the projected huge water demands are spurring lots of changes and conversations around future conflicts, not only among African countries but even beyond. Countries like South Africa, which have developed the largest water management scheme in Africa, transfer 40% of Lesotho’s water to South Africa where access is at 87%. This has led to conversations about economic ties, negotiations, and talks of hydrocolonization.
Another epicenter of a similar conversation is happening among the Nile river countries whose whole economic development is directly tied to the Nile.
Solving the water challenge has to be approached based on the projected effects of climate change, population, and migratory trends. It requires climate-smart infrastructure coupled with climate-smart financing, and data-driven negotiations between riparian countries and drier countries.
And that’s our approach at HydroIQ, a long-term approach that not only provides hyperlocal hydrological data but also drives up transparency in consumption across the water distribution network from source to consumer.
Since 2017, we have developed a rich dataset that we shall eventually make public for decision-makers, investors, and consumers to actually be involved in rethinking and redesigning the future of water in Africa and beyond.
Our founding vision at HydroIQ is to make every drop count and make water systems work from source to consumption. We shall deliver on this especially now as climate change disrupts water systems.
That’s my personal commitment within this decade.
Article by Brian Bosire,