The amount of water available for each person in Africa is declining fast.
A new atlas of Africa's water resources compiled by the United Nations Environment Program indicates that the most alarming examples of the devastation of the water bodies are in Uganda and Nigeria.
The Africa Water Atlas uses hundreds of ‘before and after' photographs, maps and satellite images to show the problems facing Africa's water supplies. Among the most arresting images are the green clouds eroded soil and agricultural run-off on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.
The surface runoff concentrated around Entebbe shows up at the shoreline, expanding into the water. The United Nations Environment Program, in a statement accompanying the release of the Africa Water Atlas, warns that the runoff is seriously compromising water quality in Lake Victoria.
Other crisis areas noted in the Africa Water Atlas are the erosion of a three-kilometer section of the Niger Delta and pollution from oil spills in Nigeria.
But in addition to these water challenges, the Atlas maps out new solutions and success stories from across the continent. It contains the first detailed mapping of how rainwater conservation is improving food security in drought-prone regions. Images also reveal how irrigation projects in Kenya, Senegal and Sudan are helping to improve food security.
Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program, says that while the degradation of the water resources on the continent is alarming, all hope is not lost. He says there are many attempts towards sustainable management of freshwaters.
Steiner mentions government efforts to restore the Mau forest complex in Kenya and the conservation of Lake Faguibine in Mali as examples of interventions to protect the water sources.
The Africa Water Atlas was compiled at the request of the African Ministers' Council on Water.
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