Water is the essence of life. We all depend on water. Six billion of us need it for drinking, growing food and keeping clean. It is the single most valuable resource we have. We know when we have a problem with water - when we have to fetch it from far away, when we must carry heavy containers long distances, when there is not enough to go round, or when it is dirty and unsafe to drink.

Useful water is scarce. Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh and of that, 99% is frozen in icebergs or hidden deep underground.  Large areas of Africa receive little rainfall for much of the year, so even though Africa covers 20% of the world’s land area, it only has 9% of global freshwater resources. Most Africans use only a fraction of the water available each day to people in industrialised countries. When water is easily available, especially when it arrives through a tap, it is easy to waste by using it carelessly. In Africa, people who have water piped to their houses use three times as much as households without. Some parts of Africa suffer terrible droughts. Finding ways to conserve and manage the water that is available is vitally important.

It’s also vital that the water we drink is clean. Dirty water carries diseases. Around the world, six thousand children die every day from diarrhoea, simply due to lack of clean water. Not everyone knows that dirty water is linked to disease or understands how to prevent their own supplies from becoming contaminated.

This topic also contains lots of information on ways to keep water supplies safe.




Excerpts from Africa Our Home Where does water come from? The Water Cycle [pages 42-43]
Excerpts from Africa Our Home Peace – Rain – Prosperity: Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation [pages 50,51]
Excerpts from Africa Our Home Dirty Water: Industrial Pollution [pages 52 and 53]


Download PACE Action Sheet
Water for Life Download PACE Action Sheet Safe Water Transport and Storage
Download PACE Action Sheet Health Problems from a Lack of Water Download PACE Action Sheet Ferrocement Tanks
Download PACE Action Sheet Health Problems from Unsafe Water Download PACE Action Sheet Brick Tanks for Roofwater Storage
Download PACE Action Sheet Developing a Plan for Community Water Security Download PACE Action Sheet Making Water Safe for Drinking and Cooking
Download PACE Action Sheet Roofwater Harvesting Download PACE Action Sheet Water Filters
Download PACE Action Sheet Runoff Water Harvesting Download PACE Action Sheet Solar Pasteurization
Download PACE Action Sheet Rock Catchment Rainwater Harvesting Download PACE Action Sheet Building Toilets
Download PACE Action Sheet Getting Groundwater – Safer Wells and Waterholes Download PACE Action Sheet Wash Your Hands
Download PACE Action Sheet Subsurface Dams Download PACE Action Sheet Making Soap
Download PACE Action Sheet Useful Water Pumps Download PACE Action Sheet
Water Hyacinth
Download PACE Action Sheet Spring Protection    




To get further details of helpful organisations listed in the Action Sheets see the Water section of the PACE DIRECTORY.

The water films are available from PACE, pace@siren.org.uk. The following are the sections of the DVD which are applicable to this topic:
A COMMUNITY SPRING - Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
movie MAKING WATER SAFE TO DRINK - Solar Cookers International, Kenya
movie HARVESTING WATER AT HOME - Practical Action, Kenya
movie HARVESTING WATER ON THE FARM - ICRAF (World Agroforestry Centre), Kenya
movie ECOSAN TOILETS - Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control Organisation, Tanzania
Click on the links above to find out more about these projects.

A lady collects rainwater harvested from the church roof and stored in a tank below (Kusa Community Project, Machakos Rural Development Programme, Practical Action, Kenya) © Sarah Watson

At Rugusu Springs in Kenya, people used to water their cattle, wash their clothes, bath and collect drinking water at the same place, but people were getting ill from drinking dirty water. The people of Rugusu solved the problem by fencing off the spring and piping the water into different channels for livestock and human use. One leads to this watering place for livestock. (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya) © Sarah Watson

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Last Updated on 2/1/2013