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UNEP Releases Atlas on Africa’s Water Resources

25 November 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the "New Africa Water Atlas," which shows how the challenges of water scarcity in Africa are compounded by high population growth, socioeconomic and climate change impacts and, in some cases, policy choices.

The Atlas, which was compiled at the request of the African Ministers' Council on Water, was prepared by UNEP in collaboration with the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the US Department of State and the US Geological Survey. The publication features over 224 maps and 104 satellite images, as well as 500 graphics and hundreds of photos from 53 countries, showing the challenges facing Africa's water supplies.

UNEP reports that research carried out for the Atlas indicates a decline in the availability of water per person in Africa, and that only 26 of the continent's 53 countries are on track to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to drinking water by 2015.

In addition to water challenges, the Atlas features new solutions and success stories across the continent. It includes detailed mapping of how rainwater conservation is improving food security in drought-prone regions, and images revealing how irrigation projects in Kenya, Senegal and Sudan are helping improve food security. [UNEP Press Release] [The Atlas]