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Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa

The El Nino weather pattern has triggered water crises across southern Africa since 2015, causing the region's worst drought in 35 years, Farr said.

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Jonathan Farr leads work on water security for Water Aid, an organization that works to bring clean water to some of the world's poorest communities, including in southern Africa.
Women caring water from far away in Africa, VOA

While the South African city of Cape Town drew international attention when it warned it could run out of water this year, an international charity focused on global water supplies says “slow burning” droughts have wreaked even worse devastation in other parts of Africa.

Jonathan Farr leads work on water security for Water Aid, an organization that works to bring clean water to some of the world’s poorest communities, including in southern Africa.

“We should remember that there are already 844 million people in the world who lack basic access to water,” he said. “More than 8 million of those live in South Africa.”

The El Nino weather pattern has triggered water crises across southern Africa since 2015, causing the region’s worst drought in 35 years, Farr said.

“By the beginning of last year, it affected about 41 million people in countries including Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and, of course, South Africa,” he said.

And some of those places are in worse shape than Cape Town.

In 2016, Madagascar’s government declared a state of emergency in the country’s south, “with almost a million people facing alarming levels of hunger,” Farr said. Last April, Malawi’s president also declared a state of national disaster, “with 25 out of 28 parts of the country having severe food shortages” related to the drought, Farr added.

In February, Mozambique reduced the water supply by more than half for consumers in its capital city, Maputo, although that order was lifted in April.

"By the beginning of last year, it affected about 41 million people in countries including Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and, of course, South Africa," he said.
Drought has spread in Cape Town and severe conditions are expected in future in entire Africa, VOA

Threats across Africa

But water security is threatened across Africa, and not just because of hotter, drier weather.

“Lots of people are moving from rural communities to cities. The cities aren’t ready for this huge influx of people, and so that’s increasing demand for water, but in a very small area,” he said. “So, it does mean there’s huge pressures on particular water basins. The authorities, even those who are reacting well, are dealing with a very serious problem.”

In many southern Africa nations, water is lost through poor infrastructure, lax maintenance and illegal users. And, Farr said, many governments aren’t effectively collecting usage fees, so they lack the money to maintain and expand water systems.

Farr’s organization cooperates with governments, engineers and architects to assess threats to water supplies — everything from leaking infrastructure to improved water quality.

It also helps to build feasible infrastructure: In Maputo, it’s helping Mozambicans tap into unused water basins near the city.

Dramatic deadline

But if droughts are so much more serious in other parts of southern Africa, why are they largely out of the public eye? Why all the attention on Cape Town?

Farr said there are a few reasons for the international community focusing heavily on the city at the southern tip of Africa.

“You’ve got the deadline of Day Zero and that’s dramatic; it captures headlines, and it’s got this looming threat.”

Day Zero is the point at which authorities will be forced to cut water to most homes, so that people will need to line up at distribution points for daily rations. City officials said it would come when water levels in the city’s reservoirs fell to 13.5 percent of capacity.

Jonathan Farr leads work on water security for Water Aid, an organization that works to bring clean water to some of the world's poorest communities, including in southern Africa.

People in queue for water, VOAEarlier this year, Cape Town officials warned that Day Zero would happen by this month, then recalculated to July. Successful conservation efforts and the onset of the annual rainy season have postponed it indefinitely. However, dam levels remain very low, and stringent water restrictions — eased to 87 liters daily per person from 50 earlier this year — remain in place.Cape Town’s situation also captured the attention of the developed world because the city of 4 million is much more developed than other drought-stricken areas in Africa, with industry and scientific research in the area.

Moreover, it’s a popular international tourist destination.

“So, the potential economic costs there of running out of water are absolutely gigantic,” Farr said. “This is a message that resonates around the world because if Cape Town’s running out of water, there’s lots of cities that also have to look at their own [water] situations and say, ‘Well, maybe this could be us in the not-too-distant future.'”

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Cape Town’s conservation efforts, and its plans to invest in alternative water sources, such as groundwater extraction, instead of reservoirs, should be an international example, Farr said.

“It’s not about, ‘Can we spend billions on new infrastructure,'” he said. “It’s not about, ‘Oh, let’s hope for the weather to improve.’ It’s about looking at what are the threats to water, where water comes from and what it’s been used for and can we make sure that’s been done better. And as Cape Town has demonstrated, when you do do it better, you can find significant water resources fairly easily.” (VOA)

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What Is So Special About the African Jungle Safari?

Once you are in the middle of several wild animals experiencing an African jungle safari, you'll know why they call this a once-in-a-lifetime experience

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There are specific areas in Africa where you can take an African jungle Safari and view a natural ecosystem that is constantly in motion. Pixabay

It’s not surprising that Africa is one of the top spots to travel to when you want to experience something unusual in your life as it is known for its large mammals and massive bird population. By visiting the continent, you can experience breathtaking views of wild animals in their natural environment. Whether you’re traveling by night, on a walking African jungle safari or viewing the area by plane, you’ll probably feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience after visiting certain areas of Africa.

What Is Special About an African Jungle Safari?

There are specific areas in Africa where you can take an African jungle Safari and view a natural ecosystem that is constantly in motion. You can see animals that range from elephants and giraffes to lions and zebra. Certain areas offer a viewpoint of amazing wildlife throughout the year with certain times highlighting special events such as the annual wildebeest migration where close to 1.5 million wildebeest, 300,000 gazelles and 200,000 zebra trek across the dusty plains in search of greener pastures.

Get in Touch With Nature

Going on an African jungle safari allows you to get in touch with nature. You can hear hyenas cackling as they look for food or watch elephants trample across trails that are hundreds of years old. You’ll also see rhinos, hippos and cheetahs sitting in the sun or refreshing themselves in one of the flowing rivers. Not mention, there is magnificent scenery to see just about everywhere.

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During Safari, You can see animals that range from elephants and giraffes to lions and zebra. Certain areas offer a viewpoint of amazing wildlife throughout the year with certain times highlighting special events. Pixabay

Wide Range of Accommodations Are Available

If you’re looking for a place to stay when you visit Africa, you’ll find everything from luxury lodges to public campsites. The Central Serengeti region hosts the largest variety of accommodations to choose from. It’s important to book your accommodations well in advance of your trip, especially if you’re going to be traveling during peak season. If you decide to stay in public campsites, you usually won’t need to make a reservation in advance. The cost for these campsites typically ranges between about $30-$50 for an adult, but if you’re on your trip and run short of cash, you can have a relative or friend send money to Africa to tide you over during your trip.

ALSO READ: Here are 4 Travel Destinations for Couples

Once in a Lifetime Experience

Once you are in the middle of several wild animals experiencing an African jungle safari, you’ll know why they call this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At any given time you might see giraffes loping along or monkeys shuffling around in trees. If you get a chance, try and go when The Great Migration is occurring as it can be a truly spectacular sight to see. When it’s the wet season in the Serengeti, the animals will be traveling towards the south, which is from December to June. After temperatures rise and dry out the area, the migration will move towards greener pastures. Most African jungle Safari guides will know where the animals are located. It’s also possible to travel through the area and see the animals by driving your own vehicle.