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Covid19 pandemic as a further driver of water scarcity in Africa.

Authors
  • Boretti, Alberto1
  • 1 Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. , (Saudi Arabia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
GeoJournal
Publication Date
Aug 25, 2020
Pages
1–28
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10708-020-10280-7
PMID: 32863544
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Population growth, even if coupled to economic growth, and resources, were already on a collision course, especially in Africa. The 2019 United Nations World Water Development Report provided a dramatic status of world water, however without questioning the main drivers of an imminent water crisis, that were unbounded, unequal, economic, and population growth, within the context of reducing resources in a finite world. Despite the report was a small step forward in awareness, still, it was not proposing satisfactory remedies. With business-as-usual, without acting on the drivers of water scarcity, regional water crises were inevitable in the next 3 decades, starting from Africa. Constrained by political, financial, and energy burdens, the technological improvements that have helped humanity to deal with the increased demand for water, food, and energy over the last 70 years, were likely not enough to avoid the water crisis. On top of forecast is the Covid19 pandemic. Coronavirus cases are (August 4, 2020) 18,446,065 and fatalities are 697,202 worldwide, and still growing. The containment measures enforced for Covid19 infection following the examples in the United Kingdom have already produced significant damage to the world economy. This will limit social expenditures in general, and the expenditures for the water issue in particular. The water crisis will consequently become worse in the next months, with consequences still difficult to predict. This will be true especially for Africa, where the main problem has always been poverty. There is the opportunity of significant health, food, and water crisis, especially in Africa. While the concepts of washing hands and social distancing that are difficult to apply haven't produce so far major issues with the Covid19 outbreak in Africa, borders closure, restrictions on movement, and more poverty will translate in a lack of food and water potentially much more worrying than the virus spreading. © Springer Nature B.V. 2020.

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