Water & Sanitation
Water is also linked to health in the agriculture sector, food security, biodiversity, desertification, land degradation and drought. It should be dealt with comprehensively, following a nexus approach acknowledging interlinkages. - Water scarcity is on the rise, particularly due to the adverse impacts of climate change. FPI-I is working on the supply side in order to increase the availability of water, before increasing the demand, by increasing universal access, and agricultural production.
WATER IN THE RURAL AGRICULTURE SECTOR
Rural Areas Water Supplies
Agriculture is one of the primary sources of livelihoods for the vast majority of Africa's rural households. Rain-fed subsistence agriculture dominates most countries, but low and erratic rainfall limits productivity and food security, and results in an incidence of drought every 4-5 years. Accordingly, small-scale irrigation (SSI) must be identified in most countries as a key poverty reduction strategy because it is expected to increase productivity through the use of available water resources. Irrigation is little developed and agricultural use of groundwater is low in most countries. Since access to improved water supply in rural areas is inadequate, separate water sources for domestic purposes and agricultural uses do not exist in several areas.
Water borne diseases
Worldwide, more than 3.4 million people die of diseases related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) (Prüss-Üstün et al. 2008). More than 90 percent of diarrheal deaths under the age of five years are in developing countries (UN Water 2008a). As a result of lack of access to improved drinking water supply and sanitation (WATSAN),1 inadequate hygiene practices and malnutrition, diarrhea is more prevalent in many developing countries. It is the second leading causes of death among under-five children globally, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined (WHO/UNICEF 2009). In most cases, these deaths could have been prevented by providing safe drinking water, basic sanitation facilities, and promoting proper hygiene practices.
Improved WATSAN services together with proper hygiene practices can have significant health impacts on the population by reducing the incidence of a variety of water-related diseases. Considering the limited studies on the linkage between agriculture and WATSAN, FPI will carry out research studies that aim to shed more light on the agriculture-WATSAN nexus issues. Using primary rural household survey data, the study shall investigate the impacts of rural WATSAN services on child health outcomes and the linkage between agriculture and WATSAN under multiple-use water systems. The research findings will bring a better understanding of the complex interactions between WASH and irrigated agriculture under multiple-use water systems.
The research will provide the necessary inputs for policymakers and practitioners to design evidence-based policies/interventions regarding the sector, which allows for effective investments and sustainable provision of improved WATSAN and SSI infrastructures. It also serves as a guide on how future investments should be channelled to maximize the benefits of improved WATSAN services and small-scale agriculture in support of improved health and nutrition outcomes.
It is understood that most of the deadly diseases caused by poor WATSAN services are largely preventable. The provision of improved WATSAN services and proper hygiene practices are of crucial importance in the prevention of waterborne diseases, including diarrhea in the farming communities
Solutions to improve food systems and water security
Strengthening efforts to retain water-based ecosystems and their functions
In addition to a direct halt to deforestation and destruction of the water-based ecosystems, nature-based solutions that use or mimic natural processes to enhance water availability (e.g. groundwater recharge), improve water quality (e.g. riparian buffer strips), and reduce risks associated with water-related disasters and climate change (e.g. floodplain restoration) should be strengthened.