Water footprint of African countries: data shows surprising results

Water Footprint Network's data shows some of Africa's driest countries use a lot more water for production than their water rich neighbours.

A map of the water footprint per capita in African countries, created by the Mail & Guardian Africa using data from our WaterStat database, reveals that some water scarce African countries have a higher water footprint per capita than those with more abundance of water. It found, for example, that Niger’s water footprint per capita is more than three times higher than Kenya’s, which has far more water resources. Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Tunisia also have water footprints far above the global average per capita, despite having less water resources than countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The article looks into possible reasons for these unexpected results, including the fact that it is not consumption volume alone that determines the water demand of people, but what is consumed. Food such as meat, rice and cereals, for example, require a lot of water to produce. Another factor is the external water footprint; the volume of water used to produce imported goods. It also cites unfavourable climatic conditions combined with bad agricultural practices as a possible underlying factor i.e., too much water being used for agricultural production in hot and dry conditions.

See the map and read the article here.