Monitoring of water availability in terms of quality and quantity for food security in Africa
Sustainable development in Africa is reliant on increasing the viable use of water resources without significantly degrading ecosystem services, which are fundamental to human well-being. This is particularly challenging in Africa due to the high spatial and temporal variability of available water resources. As stated by the IPCC in 2014 “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and
ice have diminished, and sea level has risen”. Studies have predicted that the average world global temperature may increase by 1.4 – 5.8°C and there would be a substantial reduction in freshwater resources by the end of the 21st century.
Due to these impacts of climate change, water availability and food security are becoming key challenges as both are highly vulnerable to continuously changing climatic patterns. And agriculture yield will likely be severely affected over the next hundred years due to unprecedented rates of changes in the climate system.
The NEPAD report shows that one in four undernourished people in the world live in Africa: Africa is the only continent where the absolute number of undernourished people has increased over the last 30 years. Food insecurity remains an essentially rural phenomenon and permanent economic access to food has become the decisive factor in food insecurity.
In this context, where climate change impacts, water availability and food security are closely linked, monitoring water availability to ensure the production is at stake to tackle economic, human, environmental and political challenges.