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Food and water security

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Sustainable access to sufficient food and water is essential for sustaining livelihoods. For part of the global population, this access can be ascertained by buying food, sometimes transported over large distances. However, the demands of a growing world population are increasingly hard to meet by finite natural resources. Unsustainable use of resources may result in land degradation or groundwater depletion, climate change and weather impacts can lower water availability and food production, and conflicts may arise between stakeholders on how to share resource access and use. In the case study about Food and Water Security, you will explore these issues in detail.

Carolina & Prashant

“Our team focused on the water accessibility in Bomet, a county within the Mara River Basin in Kenya. This region is facing many problems related to water scarcity. We found that more than half of the inhabitants in the region, especially the low-income households, did not have access to clean drinking water within a distance of one kilometre. Thus, the water used for domestic purposes (such as drinking, cooking, or cleaning) is often extracted from unreliable and unprotected sources. This means that water levels are never stable, and even when water is available, it is often contaminated.

To be able to improve the water accessibility for the inhabitants of Bomet, we needed to take various aspects into account. For example, we performed a population growth analysis to estimate future water demand and we tried to forecast rainfall trends until 2040. Eventually, our team came up with a water storage and purification station, together with a distribution system. The purpose of the station is to filter the water to make it appropriate for drinking by screening, sedimentation and disinfection processes. The purified water is then transported to living areas by a pipe network that leads to common taps. To be able to pinpoint the most suitable locations for the tap, we did an analysis with satellite imagery to detect human settlements. This way we could make sure that all inhabitants had access to a water tap near them.”

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