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Water and the Development of Africa

Past, Present, and Future

Kwadwo A. Sarfoh

This book examines Africa’s water resources from pre-historic times to the present, illustrating how Africans and their rulers formulated water management systems to support water-sector activities including irrigation, livestock raising, fishing, river transportation, industry, and the generation of hydropower so crucial to the continent’s socio-economic transformation of its communities.
The recent increasing demand for water by Africa’s growing population makes it clear that new water management strategies are necessary for the continent to benefit from sustained development. In the face of ongoing water shortages caused by reduced rainfall, frequent droughts, and global warming, new political and economic arrangements are essential to ensure cooperative use of available water resources. Kwadwo A. Sarfoh argues that such arrangements will inevitably bring peace to countries that share river basins.
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Chapter I Water: The Irreplaceable Natural Resource

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Chapter I



Water

The Irreplaceable Natural Resource

After years of research in planetary science, scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced in early 2004 that they had found convincing evidence supporting the previous existence of liquid water on Mars (Christian Science Magazine, 2004). This announcement was immediately hailed in the scientific community as an indication of the possibility of existence of life on Mars. The finding led scientists to speculate that liquid water likely created conditions necessary for life on Mars. Indeed, such a supposition, if valid, would make our own Earth and Mars the only two planets capable of sustaining life.

NASA’s discovery of liquid water on Mars and the likelihood that this created conditions for life was reaffirmed in December 2012 when a team of scientists led by Andrews-Hanna1 running a Mars rover announced that the robot found a tiny rock they deemed the “most bullet-proof observation of Martian water” (Chronicle of Higher Education ← 1 | 2 → 2012. Vol. 53, Issue 23, pp. 242–5). The tiny rock was thought to be the result of a crack from which water once bubbled out of the ground. The work of Andrews-Hanna in fact guides speculation as to where Mars might once have held simple life forms like microbes. This speculation has been boosted by the discovery of a burst of methane by NASA’s Curiosity Rover. The discovery of methane lends weight to the possibility...

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