The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a magnifying glass on pressing water and sanitation challenges in African cities, stressing and widening inequalities, especially for the 56% of the urban population living in informal settlements, lacking basic handwashing facilities, and relying on public water points and shared toilets. Before the pandemic, African countries and cities were already facing mounting water challenges with, in Sub-Saharan Africa only, 418 million people lacking basic access to water supply and 717 million to sanitation, in addition to concomitant floods, droughts and pollution issues. Megatrends related to climate change, urbanisation and population growth add more pressure on water resources and require urgent attention for African cities to cope with future water challenges. Building on a Survey on Water Governance across 36 cities of all size in Africa, this report provides a regional overview of the allocation of roles and responsibilities for water management, the existence and implementation of institutional, policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as the critical governance gaps that need to be bridged in order to boost city government capacity to drive water security in the continent.
Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.