Africa Needs More Integrated Approach To Urban Water Management: World Bank

ACCRA- As Africa urbanises at a faster rate than any other region in the world, a more integrated approach to urban water management is needed to solve complex water challenges in the continent’s cities, says a report by the World Bank presented at the AfriCities Summit here.

Report by Bernama Online

The Bank said in a press statement that the report collated lessons of experiences from 31 cities in Africa and globally, and showed how such approaches were leading to home-grown innovative solutions which could help guide the design of plans elsewhere.

The World Bank report entitled “The Future of Water in Africa’s Cities: Why Waste Water?” was aimed to change the way policy makers think about urban water management, planning and project design in Africa.

The report argued that by adopting Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) approaches, policy makers in African cities had a real chance to address diverse issues such as increased competition for water with upstream water users, improving urban planning by understanding water’s interaction with other sectors, and securing resilience by relying on a diversity of water sources.

“Solving the challenge of urban water management is critical to unlocking the economic potential of Africa’s cities and improving the lives of city residents,” the report quoted Alexander Bakalian, World Bank sector manager for Urban Development and Services in the Africa Region, as saying.

“We need to understand how water is linked across sectors and innovate in the way we do project planning and implementation. It is noteworthy that some cities in Africa have started to consider integrated planning of water resources as part of their city development strategies.”

The report said the populations of African cities were growing at 3.9 per cent annually, the highest in the world, and existing water management systems could not keep up with growing demand.

Studies projected that over the next 25 years, water demand would almost quadruple — a much faster growth rate than any other region in the world.

Currently, about 320 million Africans lived in urban areas, a number projected to rise to 654 million by 2030.

Population growth and growing water needs for municipal, industrial and ecological purposes will all combine to put greater pressure on scarce and dwindling water resources.