news in brief

Water shortage Africa’s biggest challenge, says Mwai Kibaki

16Former President Mwai Kibaki, a Unesco special envoy for water in Africa, addressing the sixth African Water Week conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. PHOTO | PPSFormer President Mwai Kibaki has said water scarcity is “perhaps the biggest challenge facing our continent today”, in his first major assignment as the water envoy in Africa. For a continent that is wealthy in natural resources, he said, Africa’s annual per capita water availability is well below that of other continents.

“Africa is host to 15 per cent of the world’s population. However, it has only nine per cent of freshwater resources. Moreover, Africa is the world’s second-driest continent after Australia,” he said Monday.

Mr Kibaki was addressing more than 1,000 delegates from Africa’s water ministries, development partners and water experts attending the sixth Africa Water Ministers Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Temperature in Kuwait hits 54 Celsius, sets

15Dohuk, Iraq, Sharia camp (file). Photo: OCHA/Gwen McClureThe World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations specialized agency, will set up a committee to examine whether a 54 degrees Celsius temperature recently recorded in Kuwait, has set the new highest temperature for Asia, as well as for the entire Eastern hemisphere.

The region saw unusually high temperatures with Mitrabah, Kuwait, reporting a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius (129.2 degrees Fahrenheit) on 21 July, and the city of Basra in Iraq reporting 53.9 degrees Celcius (128 Fahrenheit) on Friday 22 July. Southern Morocco also saw temperatures of between 43 degrees and 47 degrees Celsius. “The Kuwait investigation, as with all WMO official investigations, will consist of meteorologists and climatologists,” the agency said last July.

Davis & Shirtliff provides water solutions to refugees in Dagahaley Camp

14Leading water and energy solutions provider, Davis & Shirtliff, has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide accessible water to groups of people living in Dagahaley refugee Camp facing acute water shortage.

The project is set to curb scarcity of water in the camp which is located inside Dadaab, dubbed as the world’s largest refugee camp and lower the cost of accessing water for Garissa County residents.

This comes at a time when the Kenyan Government has said that it will close Dadaab which is 80 km west of the Somali border, citing that it has become a hive for the Al-Shabab armed group that has claimed responsibility for terror attacks in Kenya.

David Gatende, CEO of Davis & Shirtliff said that the project is crucial despite the ongoing repatriation and the water is not only slated to help the refugees but the residents in the community.

Baltimore to Receive $1.2 Billion in Sewer Upgrades By 2030

13Residents of Baltimore may finally be able to relax a little when it comes to their beloved city’s crumbling sewer system.

Baltimore City has reached an agreement with federal and state environmental agencies to reduce the amount of sewage that overflows in the city in less than five years it has been reported.

The agreement is a modification to the 2002 consent decree between the Department of the Environment, the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the city of Baltimore. It would set deadlines for completion of an estimated $2 billion in work by the city to improve its sewer system, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Belgian scientists create machine to turn urine into drinkable water

12The inventors near the machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, at the University of Ghent, Belgium. (Photo: Twitter)The aim is to install larger versions of the machine in sports venues or airports but also to take it to a rural communities.

A team of scientists at a Belgian university say they have created a machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, a technique which could be applied in rural areas and developing countries.

While there are other options for treating waste water, the system applied at the University of Ghent uses a special membrane, is said to be energy-efficient and to be applicable in areas off the electricity grid.

“We’re able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy,” said University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese. The urine is collected in a big tank, heated in a solar-powered boiler before passing through the membrane where the water is recovered and nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are separated.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2