Urban flooding is a major challenge in Ouagadougou. People may settle in flood-prone parts of the West African city, because they need to be close to the business centre and to job opportunities, or because they may have inherited land from their family. They often build informal homes in these places, in spite of the high risk of water-borne diseases like cholera or malaria during the rainy season, because of limited housing options in this ever more densely populated city where formal housing may be too expensive to buy or rent.
Water is the lifeblood for urban settlements. Disruptions in supply and/or wastewater management hold enormous risks, both for human health and economic wellbeing. It goes without say that the investment in bulk water infrastructure requires strategic and long-term perspective. However, in the southern African context, many city engineers responsible for urban infrastructure on the ground face a multiplicity of challenges that may frustrate their efforts to plan proactively.
All of nature is infinitely connected. It is therefore no surprise that there are strong interdependencies between the resources that the land surface provides.
People living in the Kilombero Rivercatchment in east-central Tanzania make important water-use and farming decisions based on the seasonal forecasts they get from the country’s national meteorological service. This shows the importance of keeping regular, accurate forecast information flowing to communities on the ground, either through television and radio broadcasts or through the state’s agricultural extension services.
The floods which hit Malawi’s southern Shire River Basin in 2015 were the worst on record, according to the country’s Department of Disaster Management, causing widespread damage to roads, buildings, and farmlands. If the government wants to contain the risk of future flooding like this, it needs to plan with more than just the likely changes in rainfall patterns in mind due to climate change. They must also factor in changes in vegetation cover as farmers increase their footprint in the area, and people fell trees for firewood.
Welcome to the June 2019 edition of the Future Climate for Africa newsletter
AMMA-2050 presents their ground-breaking findings on climate change in West Africa to key stakeholders in Senegal at final annual meeting
The AMMA-2050 (African Monsoon Multi-disciplinary Analysis-2050) research group met for their final annual meeting in Senegal from 10 – 14 June attended by researchers from West Africa, UK, and France. Chris Taylor (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK) the lead of AMMA-2050 opened the meeting by encouraging everyone present to take advantage of this final opportunity to discuss, share and think about the research from individual streams of their work and to solidify the key messages of AMMA-2050 as a whole.
Keeping water in the taps of a city the size of Cape Town is a team effort. It calls for a spectrum of people to work together to manage a water system that spreads for many kilometres beyond the urban edge of the city across the mountainous catchments with at least five major dams feeding it. The collaboration involves people responsible for the day-to-day operational decisions, through to those who handle the decades-long infrastructure planning and building, and many layers of technicians and bureaucrats in between.
Professor Declan Conway summarises key issues and recent findings discussed at his 2019 Gerald Lacey Lecture and asks how African nations can best prepare for the effects and consequences of climate change.
Lusaka is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, and urban densification and economic growth will call for more strategic planning of its water supply and infrastructure. The Zambian capital has enough water supply for the foreseeable future, however the growing demand for this resource from city users, the hydro-power scheme on the river which supplies Lusaka’s electricity, and the sugarcane industry upriver of the city, will call for greater cooperation between the city and various government departments that are responsible for these different sectors.