« Insufficient development ». This is Madagascar’s major constraint on access to water, if one refers to the 2015 of Water Barometer, Hygiene and Sanitation published by the NGO International humanitarian Solidarity International.
Of course, the Great Island is not one of the countries where there are strong tensions and risks of water warfare, but the lack of infrastructures is problematic. It does not make it possible to redistribute water properly, whether it is drinking water, irrigation or for other uses such as those for industry. It should be remembered that only 77.4% of urban dwellers are affected, compared to 17.7% of rural residents, according to the latest National Survey for the Monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals (ENSOMD). Even in cities, therefore, almost 1/4 of the population doesn’t have access to drinking water. The proportion is very important in the countryside: it exceeds 82%! However, dirty water generates many problems, including illnesses, school and work stoppages, which are very costly for households and the economy of the country.
At a time when the country is sinking into political instability, among others, by the leaders because of their bad governance, these water-related concerns are relegated to the last level. They fall simply into the water as they say however, less than 3% of irrigation water is stored in artificial dams and lakes according to the official estimate. However, much of the rice production is irrigated. But controlling water is very problematic because of several factors. Climate change is accompanied by very capricious rainfall, not to mention droughts. Besides, the hydro-agricultural infrastructures are dilapidated for the vast majority and the canals are sanded. In recent years, new dams have been built but they are still far from covering the needs for agricultural irrigation. You only have to see the damage caused by the last drought in the South. The region was on the brink of starvation and one could only be grieved at the image of a thirsty child who drank the urine of a zebu!
Madagascar has the advantage of not lacking water resources. But leaders don’t have the will to seek lasting solutions. Pipelines may solve problems but they don’t provide effective and sustainable solutions. Everything is about political will and imaginative spirit to go forward and find solutions not by relying on foreign experts but on specialists Malagasy. Local competences exist, but they are hardly valued. Madagascar has the advantage of not falling into what the work quoted above calls « the diagonal of thirst ». This diagonal runs from Gibraltar to Northeast China. These areas are subject to enormous water stress and tensions caused by lack of surface water. In these regions, an inhabitant has on average less than 500 m3 of water per year! That is to annihilate all logic of development. Within 10 years, 4 billion people will be subjected to water stress, compared to 400 million in 1995.
Access to drinking water remains a major problem for Madagascar, where nearly 60% of the population is confronted, with this access to drinking water at the national level being 40.1% with a large disparity between the regions.
Access to drinking water for 76% of the Malagasy people by 2025. Or in 10 years. This is the challenge to be faced by Madagascar and highlighted during the official opening of the SADC Water Week held since 3 June at Ivato CCI. This important gathering of stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is above all a political dialogue between key actors and decision-makers in the higher sphere of the State. The aim is to foster greater commitment by decision-makers to the development of the WASH sector and water resources management in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. In the member countries of this regional development community, access to drinking water will be significantly increased.
Disparity. The challenge is important for Madagascar where the access to drinking water remains a major challenge, with a strong disparity between regions. Indeed, according to data from the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, if the rate of access to drinking water is 40.1% at the national level, it is only 8, 67% for the Atsimo Atsinanana region, 15.22% for the Melaky region and 74.22% for the Analamanga region. In order to reach an objective of access to drinking water for more than ¾ of Malagasy within 10 years, it is essential to ensure that decision-makers have an understanding of the challenges of water management in development And the need to increase investment in this sector.
RSAP IV. A SADC regional water strategy will be developed, incorporating the aspirations of Madagascar based on the specific context of the country. In this future Regional Strategic Action Plan IV (RSAP IV), national specificities and strategies, but also the parameters common to the SADC countries, will be articulated around a common objective: to improve efficiently and rapidly access Water and water resources management. During SADC’s Water Week, which will end today, the main lines of reflection are oriented towards the integrated management of water resources, their economic value and the actions to be taken at the sector level, in order to reinforce the resilience In the face of climate change.