Water Resources And Hydro-Climatic Disaster
Climate shocks and stresses, including droughts, floods, and erratic rainfall are a reality across much of Eastern and Southern Africa. Almost all countries in this region face water insecurity, including water scarcity, in-accessibility, and pollution. These problems are exacerbated by environmental degradation resulting from increased land use, urbanization, deforestation, poor agricultural practices, and the intensification of water abstraction.
These practices can lead to reduced water retention periods, increased surface runoff, higher rates of soil loss, and changes to the natural hydrograph of streams and rivers. Relatedly, water-borne diseases are the main cause of morbidity in all the countries in the region, and poor sanitation compounds health problems in both urban and rural environments. Furthermore, as populations grow so does the potential for conflict over water use and access; such conflicts may be aggravated by climate change impacts on water resources.
To facilitate proper planning and use of inadequate water resources, as well as mitigation of water-related disasters, African governments require reliable data and tools that provide timely information that is integrated into national systems for effective decision-making and response. Use of Earth observation data and geospatial technologies can help to bridge this gap.
However, this will require dedicated efforts in building the capacity of government and private sector institutions to work with Earth observation data and geospatial technologies to derive tools and information necessary for water resource monitoring and management. Key topics under this theme include: water resources monitoring and forecasting, flood management and response, hazard monitoring and forecasting, fire monitoring, and water quality monitoring.