Experts Warn of Potential Water Crisis in South Africa

South Africa is at risk of experiencing a severe water crisis, says a local research organization. Photo by: Julien Harneis / CC BY

South Africa is at risk of experiencing a severe water crisis caused by high evaporation rates and low rainfall, as well as the country’s expanding economy and rising population, a local research organization has warned.

Also at risk are Africa’s semi-arid regions, where officials are struggling to meet various demands for water from the mining, industrial and agricultural sector, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said in a report released ahead of a U.N. conference on water in Cape Town, IPS News reports.

The three-day U.N. conference, which kicked off March 21, is expected to convene experts from around the world to discuss the challenges posed by migration and climate change on the world’s water resources.

Meantime, the Middle East and North Africa are the regions with the least secure water supplies, says a new report that maps the water security of 162 countries.

According to the map and report by Maplecroft, made known to Devex via e-mail, 15 of the 18 countries that were classified as at extreme risk in the Water Security Index are in the MENA region. These include Mauritania, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Niger, Iraq, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Djibouti, Tunisia and Algeria.

Maplecroft is a private research firm based in the United Kingdom. 

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.