Physical Factors Affecting Africa's Fresh Water Supply Essay

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Physical factors affecting fresh water supply in Africa The availability of and access to freshwater is an important determinant of patterns of economic growth and social development. This is particularly the case in Africa where most people live in rural areas and are still heavily dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Only 2% of the worlds water supply is fresh. Of that 2%, almost 70% is snow and ice, 30% is groundwater, less than 0.5% is surface water (lakes, rivers, etc) and less than 0.05% is in the atmosphere. Climate change: Fresh water is becoming increasing scarce in the future partly due to climate change. Climate change has a several impacts on these proportions, the main one being is that warming causes ice caps to melt which contaminate the freshwater supply. Over the next century, Africa will be at risk of experiencing decreases in water resources, especially in areas that are already water-stressed due to droughts, population pressures, and water resource extraction. As temperatures rise, snowpack is declining in many regions and glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, increasing flood risks. Droughts are likely to become more widespread, while increases in heavy precipitation events would produce more flooding. Water quality is important for ecosystems, human health and sanitation, agriculture, and other purposes. Increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme events could diminish water quality in many regions. In particular, saltwater from rising sea level and storm surges threaten water supplies in coastal areas and on small islands. Additionally, increasing water temperatures can cause algal blooms and potentially increase bacteria in water bodies. These impacts may require communities to begin treating their water in order to provide safe water resources for human uses. Geology: Freshwater

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