Africa needs 'green' water infrastructure

2011-03-22 07:20

Cape Town - African cities need to move toward greener water and sanitation projects, such as rainwater collection, to keep pace with booming urban populations, a new UN report said on Monday.

"We need to turn to new and innovative engineering solutions and those that in particular address more green infrastructure," Tim Kasten of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) told journalists on the sidelines of a summit for World Water Day 2011.

Traditional engineering solutions were not able to keep up with swelling cities, says the report, Green Hills, Blue Cities, produced by UNEP and UN Habitat.

It argues that access to safe drinking water and sanitation has not matched massive population growth.

"We're not able to keep pace. Some of the solutions of the past are not necessarily going to be able to take us into the future," said Kasten.

"Africa is urbanising at a very rapid pace, from 205 million people living in cities in 1990 to today where we now stand at 400 million in 2011. And by the year 2050 we will have over 1.2 billion people living in urban centres in Africa."

The report's recommendations include collecting rainwater and preserving natural systems such as forests and wetlands, which could help filter wastewater that goes around 90% untreated in Africa.

  • Bigyin - 2011-03-22 08:38

    We certainly need to look at all these water issues but fixing the problem for the time being is not the solution. There are two issues. Africa, all of it, needs family planning education. Don't they get it? If you can't feed yourself why are you bringing more people into the world? Secondly, we need to stop jumping in and helping. If Africa does not learn that it needs to help itself then it never will. Eventually the rest of the World will run out of resources and will have to concentrate on helping themselves. Then what becomes of the millions that are not the first priority anymore? Giving money does not and never has helped. Look at the African continent. Government and the top 20% of business men and women are rich and successful and the rest live in poverty. Those are the facts.

      Fred Basset - 2011-03-22 09:29

      Agree 100%. Time to stop aid in the form of food / money / medication. The only aid that should be provided is in the form of education.

  • FatPenguin - 2011-03-22 10:52

    How about fixing the infrastructure that is there already? I've done some work in EIA's and the state of the current water infrastructure is laughable (if you're not too busy crying about it). Before starting new green projects how 'bout fixing what you've got.

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