The world over, the increased degradation of ecosystems, excessive consumption of water, contamination and salinisation of water-bearings, aquifers and dams, along with the impact of extreme poverty have been worsened by the privatisation of water utilities. This article examines how climate change will impact on water security, from both the supply and the demand side and how the African continent is especially vulnerable. The author argues that one important factor is to ensure that women have the necessary information, tools and resources to plan and take decisions around water security as it pertains to current and future needs.
The paper’s focus is the African continent, with examples drawn from other developing countries. Its recommendations are extracted from workshop experiences in the field. The author considers what needs to be done at community level to enable women to articulate their needs and priorities as drawers and managers of water. The paper also considers why it is so important for women to be involved in protection of water supplies and how women are adapting to change. Recommendations include:
women need to help build capacity to negotiate with Western providers of technology and investment capital. Here, the successes of grassroots organisations need to be drawn upon
there must be cooperation and teamwork by all countries in the region to achieve common, mutually beneficial objectives
there is a need for a readiness to take tough decisions on the future direction and course of action consistent with the aspirations in the shared water vision
the adoption of financing and cost-recovery methods that are equitable and sustainable, while reflecting the concerns of the poor.