Wednesday, July 22, 2009

(The scarcity of) Water

I did a bit of travelling this past weekend. Urban and rural Kenya offer rather stark contrasts, including forms of shelter, the concept of wealth, and life priorities among other things.

By accident or design, Kenya is still largely dependent on seasonal rainfall for agriculture, something that is unfortunate considering the world we live in. This, coupled with the rather alarming rate of deforestation, makes me wonder whether a place like Nairobi will be habitable in the next few years. Already a biting water shortage has afflicted Nairobi, and many towns, and this does not look to be changing soon. The shortage is not being helped by the numerous illegal water connections.
A case could be made for the implementation of technology that would make it possible to monitor water flow, pressure and potentially narrow down faults in the whole distribution network, but one wonders if that wouldn't just become another white elephant.

In rural Kenya, the folks here are highly dependent on their farms for food and income, and thus during a bad season with poor rains, they suffer. This is unlike urban Kenya where water is used mainly domestically.

I'm pretty sure there's enough brains in Kenya to come up with a lasting solution to this dependence on rain for food..

A few things that could be done, some at relatively low cost :

harvest rain water - I know of one family that has a 40000+ litre tank (and an additional tank of 'only' 10000 L), harvests rain water. This is just one household. Imagine this on a larger scale.

recycle water - Large factories, hotels, institutions

Don't waste it.

Most of the current conflicts and future conflicts are and will be about resources, and especially water.

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