“The next big conflicts in Africa will be on water usage” was the chilling prediction made earlier this year by the recently departed Dr Lawrence Musaba of the Southern African Power Pool and last year’s recipient of the African Utility Week Lifetime Achievement Award.
“The food-energy-water nexus is becoming a challenge for Africa”, Dr Musaba said, “and African energy pioneers should find a way of how to deal with this dilemma as the population of Africa keeps growing. The demand for water and food is growing, but at the same time we need electricity from hydropower stations to power the industry and as a result, the scramble for water is becoming a huge challenge.”
South Africa’s National Water Week kicked off earlier this week and will culminate in the final international World Water Day on 22 March.
“Water, while once an abundant natural resource, has become a scarce and therefore more valuable commodity due to droughts and overuse”, says African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff, adding: “effective and innovative water management is fundamental to ensuring the optimum use of our water resources and how technical innovation can improve water delivery. Water utilities have to explore both innovative and alternative water supply options in order to meet rapid growth in urban demand, including wastewater reuse, grey water recycling, storm water, rain water harvesting and seawater desalination.”
Strong focus on all aspects of water
This year’s African Utility Week in Cape Town in May will have a particularly strong focus on water, from the water-energy nexus, resource management, water efficiency to wastewater management.