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Can we climate-proof Africa's water?

Bruce Campbell discusses the impacts of climate change in West Africa's Volta River Basin, and what this means for farmers.

One billion people around the world go hungry every day. In fifteen years time, there will be another billion people on the planet who will need food and water just like everybody else. Climate change compounds this problem, particularly in Africa, where life is especially sensitive to rises in temperatures, extreme weather events and variable rainfall patterns -- all the negative impacts of climate change.

Pulling the problem into sharp focus, a new study by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and its partners has examined the situation as it stands now, and is it will stand in the future, for West Africa's all important Volta river system. Cutting through several countries including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Togo, the Volta Basin is the lifeblood of agricultural production in the region, as well as the key source of daily household water for millions. In 2000, the Volta had to supply 19 million people with water; in 2015, the Volta will need to supply up to 34 million people with water. That's 15 million extra people in just 15 short years.

Climate-proofing Africa's Lifeline: Water by Bruce Campbell, Huffington Post, 19 July 2013

Press releaseClimate Change Could Deprive Volta River Basin of Water Desperately Needed to Boost Energy and Food Production, 19 July 

Download the report: The Water Resource Implications of Changing Climate in the Volta River Basin