Water, water everywhere, but not enough to drink?

by ACT

  • Posted on August 7, 2019

  • Comments Off on Water, water everywhere, but not enough to drink?

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”Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)

Water is this world’s most precious resource, without it life cannot exist. Water is hugely important in religion. The Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) see water not only as one of the elements of creation, but indeed as the first element created and was used, literally and metaphorically, to purify. Hence, Jews and Muslims are required to wash/perform ablutions before prayer. For Christians, the act of baptism in water is a physical act that represents purification and cleansing of sin. We drink water, wash in water and require water to grow plants which produces the food we eat. Humankind requires water to exist.

However, as the planet warms up and climate change takes hold, we are now experiencing extreme weather patterns, previously unknown. Each year now seems to bring new record high temperatures in Europe and in North America what was considered as rogue event, such as snow fall in normally dry southern states, such as Nevada, is fast becoming a common occurrence. Same is happening in other parts of the world; with increasingly frequent and severe droughts taking place in Africa. The severe drought which affected the entire East Africa region in 2011/12 was said to be the worst in 60 years. The loss of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice cap is well documented but its secondary effects are less well known. The glaciers feed streams and rivers, many of which are now drying up. It is estimated that 82% of the ice that capped the mountain, when it was first recorded in 1912, is now gone. Drought returned to the region in 2014 persisting well into 2018. According to UNICEF, this left 3.4 million people in Kenya severely food insecure and half a million people without access to water. Personal discomfort is of course not the only problem in an area affected by water shortages. Crops fail and animals die leading to food shortage and acute malnutrition reported to be severe among children in Kenya. Ultimately, it affects all aspects of life including declines in school attendance and rising dropout rates.

What is ACT’s response?

Climate change is not the only issue when it comes to water provision in East Africa. Infrastructure to allow; transportation, storage, sanitation and waste management are also desperately needed. This is why ACT is so grateful to our supporters whose donations enable us to carry out projects in water, sanitation and education in communities where we work in Africa.

Sitikho, Kenya Water Project

With funding from the Lions Club (105M), in Birmingham, UK we were able to complete a water project that brought pipe-borne water with storage tanks to three villages in Sitikho ward (Bungoma County, western Kenya). Tapped from the Webuye mains water line, pipes were laid five kilometres to feed the villages in its route, including Bukunjangabo S A Primary School. This project has transformed the lives of people in these communities in many significant ways. The availability of a continuous water supply has made it possible to start a greenhouse farming project for women / widows in Sitikho. Water storage tanks were constructed in strategic locations to provide continuous supply of safe water for the entire community.

Chris Nyongesa (right), Deputy Headmaster of Bukunjangabo S.A. Primary School, is very grateful. His school of 800 children and 16 staff now has access to clean, fresh water. Mr Nyongesa said that the new pipeline and tanks would improve sanitation at the school and provide water for drinking and for cleaning. He believes this will improve the health of the children and also their academic performance. Local leaders in the surrounding communities are also grateful because the 3,000 women and children, who have to trek several miles with buckets to fetch unhygienic water from the river no longer need to bear such burden. Furthermore, the accessible water supply is irrigating their crops!

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