Africa Water Crisis Feb 2023

Africa Water Crisis

It is predicted that the Africa water crisis will become a catastrophe in just a few years.[1] In Africa, more than 25% of the population spends more than 30 minutes (sometimes up to six hours) walking miles to get enough water for the day.[2] Africa is called the “dry continent” because of the difficulty of accessing water. When studying the global water crisis, facts indicate Africa’s difficult situation.

“… it is predicted that by 2025, close to 230 million Africans will be facing water scarcity, and up to 460 million will be living in water-stressed areas,” reports Global Citizen.[3]

The world water crisis can be characterized by two basic types of water scarcity: physical and economic.

  • Physical scarcity is often tied to an area’s natural climate or environmental factors. For instance, the desert areas of Africa are naturally more water scarce than the areas with a humid climate. Rising populations can also change the amount of natural water that is available, which is why this is an increasing problem.[4]
  • Economic scarcity is tied to human behavior. For example, a lack of investment in infrastructure or technology causes economic scarcity. This type of scarcity is most linked to a person’s socioeconomic status or the relative wealth of their area and can often correlate to high levels of poverty. Much of sub-Saharan Africa experiences economic water scarcity.[5]

In this water crisis, Africa is dealing with both forms of water scarcity. The population is increasing rapidly, and many local municipalities lack the resources needed to provide the water infrastructure, meaning lack of water will continue to be a problem. Africa is also dealing with very hot and dry weather. Rivers and lakes are running dry.

An interesting study in the Africa water crisis is in Burkina Faso. There are several contributing factors to the water crisis there—drought, water contamination and lack of funds. Burkina Faso is located in the Sahara Desert and has up to eight months of very dry conditions each year.[6] When a severe drought occurred in 2016, people had to travel for hours into the countryside to find water.[7] The capital city of Ouagadougou limited water usage; sometimes, those outages lasted over a week. Those who live in rural areas aren’t exempt either, especially with waterborne diseases.

According to WaterAid, over half of Burkina Faso (11 million people) live without clean water.[8]

Several things contribute beyond the environmental conditions. First, Burkina Faso is home to large gold mines, which contaminate the groundwater with arsenic, making it useless.[9] There is also a large population growth due to refugees moving in, which has stressed the already limited water supply.[10]

GFA World has recently initiated ministry in Africa, including help with the Africa water crisis. We’re starting in Rwanda and moving into additional African countries in the coming years. Our main water strategies include:

  • Jesus Wells – A typical Jesus Well, like the thousands we’ve install in Asia, costs on average only $1400 per well, Jesus Wells are drilled by a local contractor, which helps keep the price low. The wells are dug up to 200 meters to ensure water is available even during a drought. They are built to last with heavy-duty and durable equipment and are intended to operate 20 million cycles before needing mechanical repair. That’s approximately 20 years if it is used around eight hours of use daily. A local church congregation maintains the pumps and that church commits to keeping it in good working order.

Jesus Wells are drilled in convenient locations for the community to access and is free for everyone, regardless of religion, class, or background. Through these wells, churches can share the love of Jesus with their communities.

  • BioSand Water Filters – This second strategy is also very effective in helping families have access to pure water to drink. These filters strip water of its impurities and protect them from waterborne illness. The filters can make water 98 percent pure and last up to 20 years. They can be used by a small group of neighbors or in the home as a solution for one family.

Will you join with GFA World to provide more of these two solutions in Africa and Asia? Consider giving to the Jesus Well program or purchasing a BioSand Water Filter for a family in need. When we combine these tangible solutions with the heart of a local pastor, the solutions are long-lasting and incredibly effective. With these tangible solutions, pastors can share God’s love and how He can provide hope for the future. Readily available clean water can dramatically change many lives.

Support these GFA water projects today.

Learn more about what is water scarcity

[1] “Water Scarcity in Africa: Everything You Need to Know.” Global Citizen. Accessed November 26, 2022. 
[2] “Water Facts.” Drop in the Bucket. Accessed November 26, 2022. 
[3] “Water Scarcity in Africa: Everything You Need to Know.” Global Citizen. Accessed November 26, 2022. 
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Fresh Water: An Increasingly Scarce Resource. GFA Special Report. March 4, 2022.
[7] “Burkina Faso drought triggers water and power shortages.” Aljazeera. May 11, 2016.
[8] “Burkina Faso.” WaterAid. Accessed November 24, 2022.
[9] “The Current Situation of Water Quality in Burkina Faso.” The Borgen Project. Accessed November 24, 2022.
[10] “Fresh Water: An Increasingly Scarce Resource. GFA Special Report. March 4, 2022.