Associate Writer | Don't take water for granted: Lessons from a country surrounded by the sea

ByAnyse Sofia Fernandes Pereira Essoh

Associate Writer | Don't take water for granted: Lessons from a country surrounded by the sea

When I was a child, access to clean drinking water was a daily struggle. Every morning, I would wake up at 5 o’clock and walk for 20 or 30 minutes to the local “chafariz,” or municipal fountain, where I would spend hours in line waiting for my turn to fill up my buckets and jars. After finally getting my water, I would then have to walk back home carrying the heavy containers on my head, going back and forth for hours until all of our water containers were full.

As I look back on those days, I can’t help but wonder how many tons of water I carried and how many kilometers I walked just to gain access to this vital resource. And when I see people from my generation and older, I know that many of them carried much more tons than me, walked for longer periods, struggling to get the water they need for their daily lives.

This lack of drinkable water is a serious issue that affects many aspects of life on the islands of Cabo Verde. It limits agricultural production, as irrigation is difficult without access to clean water. It also affects the health of our communities, as people are forced to rely on potentially contaminated sources for their drinking water.

Unfortunately, our situation is likely to become even more challenging in the future due to the impacts of climate change. Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are already having an impact on Cabo Verde, leading to extended periods of drought that threaten food security and household income.

But the importance of water extends far beyond just our own needs. Water is a vital natural resource that is essential for the survival of all living things. It is also necessary for many industrial processes and is a key component of many of the products we use on a daily basis.

Despite its importance, water is often taken for granted. Many people turn on the tap and expect to obtain high-quality water without thinking twice, but it’s important to remember that access to clean water is a privilege that is not enjoyed by everyone. We must all make an effort to use water wisely and conserve it whenever possible, and remember that it is a finite resource that must be protected for future generations.

In Cabo Verde, we are working to address our water scarcity issue through a variety of measures, including the development of desalination plants and the implementation of water conservation initiatives. But it’s not just our responsibility to take care of this valuable resource – it’s everyone’s responsibility.

Let’s all make an effort to use water wisely and preserve it for future generations!