Water is a vital and yet so scarce resource.
More than 65% of the earth’s water covers the planet earth in various forms: fresh or salt water, liquid or ice, green water. 30% of the world’s population does not have access to drinking water. Because on the blue planet, only fresh water is viable.
However “being unevenly distributed across the globe and its use being sometimes inadequately managed, some regions are characterised by water scarcity or are already in short supply.
Water scarcity will be one of the most critical problems of the 21st century. Droughts, water stress, desertification, polluted water and climate change exacerbate this situation. The lake Chad, which is supposed to supply nearly 20 million people, has seen its level so dangerously reduced (from 22,000 km2 to 2,500 km2), that it should benefit from a filling project to preserve its social and economic role.
Recent disasters could also cast doubt on this scarcity. The quantity of water that appears, combined with an inadequate piping system and anarchic constructions, transforms the water source of life into a means of destruction. In the rainy season, Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital, is underwater. And for a good reason, Cotonou, or the swamp of death in the local language, is a natural reservoir of water. In Côte d’ Ivoire, the populations have renamed their commune Koumassi “Koum-Beach,” ironically masking their distress. In Sierra Leone, floods and mudslides killed nearly 400 people. The pattern is repeated around the world: Miami, Saint Martin, Haiti, etc.
Faced with a situation that seems to persist from generation to generation, the population remains helpless. This abundant water that accumulates in neighbourhoods and houses could at least partly be reused for other uses.
Water, therefore, becomes scarce. Not because there are fewer, but because needs are increasing and the quality of the resource is deteriorating, and potential effects of climate change could change its availability. This scarcity is mostly the result of poor management: management that does not provide incentives to use water sparingly; that does not systematically allocate water where it is most useful, and that does not contain sufficient incentives to preserve the quality of the resource.
In Cotonou, a project hopes to soon contribute to channeling this water so that it no longer acts as a brake on the economic and social development of the city.
The Sehomi Group hopes to take up the first level of challenge by developing a solar pumping solution that would make it possible to clean up flooded areas, and then recycle rainwater for non-hygienic uses such as urban tidying and industrial cleaning. Thus, water resulting from floods and perceived so far as a threat can be transformed into an opportunity for people.