Water in Crisis - Swaziland

Alexandra Barton, Guest Writer

Swaziland is a land locked country located in the Southern tip of Africa. It borders the countries of South Africa and Mozambique. It is unique in that it is one of the only true monarchies left in the world. At its head is King Mswati III. Like many countries throughout the world and particularly in Africa, access to water and the availability of water are becoming hard to obtain and often water access are only for those considered to be elite.

In a landlocked country access to water inevitably comes through access to ground water. In Swaziland 3,000 boreholes have been drilled in the country since 1986. However, 40 percent of the population does not have access to clean water and in some cases, 90 percent of some community's water projects are not functioning. Also, those in charge of these water projects often lack the knowledge needed to keep them running. Many people have to travel long distances and wait for the water to services. Often times near by are pumps for boreholes, however they have broken down and have not been fixed. Making it difficult for many people around the region to get access to clean water.

Another problem seen in Swaziland is that about only 10 percent of Swaziland ground water has been accessed, however 90 percent of the countries citizens depend on that groundwater. Many of which are from rural areas.

One component not usually mentioned is the fact that in Swaziland and many other African countries, foreign investors have a big influence on the country's economy. In Swaziland there have been threats of investors pulling out of the country due to the water scarcity issues.

Overall, water scarcity issues continue to persist and it will take time and change to combat the issues of water scarcity. The majority of the issues revolve around lack of access and knowledge. Swaziland in particular needs to take the steps to increase education and knowledge about how the water pumps work and how to fix them when they break down. Also, if the pumps are not reliable and or they don't have the resources to educate their citizens then the government needs to develop an alternative plan that allows access to the precious ground water in which so many Swazi's depend on. In Swaziland in where the country is one of the only truly remaining monarchies it will be up to the king whether or not he sees prosperity through this otherwise tragic crisis currently unfolding in this Southern African nation.

Children often bear the burden of walking miles each day to find water in streams and ponds. Sickness and the time lost fetching it robs entire communities of their futures.

You can change that.

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