WATER AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
Dr R. Taylor, Dr J. Thompson and Dr. B. Page
Unit Value: 0.5 units Year 3 Term 1
Brief Course Description
This course explores the relationship between people and water in Africa with a particular focus on the emerging water and sanitation crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
This course seeks to develop and encourage inclusive, inter/intra disciplinary debate surrounding the physical and human dimensions to the problems of water development in Africa. On completion of this course, students should have developed (1) a thorough understanding of the major physical and human issues that affect development of water resources and, in particular, provision of water supplies in Africa; (2) analytical skills to assess the physical and human dimensions of a fundamental geographical problem; and (3) an awareness of the importance of a geographical approach to the study of the relationship between people and their resources.
This course reviews the physical and human environments in Africa that are the context of the current relationship between people and water. Fundamental challenges facing the development of water in Africa including high variability in rainfall and riverflow, rapidly growing populations, urbanisation and foods security are discussed. Key themes challenges of developing water such as the nature of development (e.g., 'bottom up' versus 'top down' approaches), climate change, uncertainty, sustainability and equity are discussed and illustrated through a series of diverse case studies that include development of small-town water supplies in East Africa, conservation and development of wetlands in the Sahel, role of private sector and community in water development, relationship between sanitation and water quality, and equitable use of transboundary water bodies in North Africa and the Nile basin.
Method of Teaching
The course consists of lectures, lecture-led discussions and seminars (2 hours each week). In addition to assigned reading, students will be expected to work independently, consulting the significant literature on this subject, and be willing to discuss and debate key themes of the course in seminars.
Form of Assessment
Students will be assessed through a written examination (worth 50%) and the preparation (2 500 words) of an independent research project (worth 50%).
Suggested Preparatory Reading
Adams, W.M., 1992. Wasting the rain: rivers, people and planning in Africa. Univ. of Minnesota Press
Boko, M. et al., 2007. Africa. In: IPCC 4th Assessment Report Working Group II, Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 433-467. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter9.pdf
Thompson, J. et al., 2002. Drawers of Water: 30 Years of Change in Domestic Water Use and Environmental Health – Overview. IIED: http://www.iied.org/pubs/display.php?o=9049IIED
There are no prerequisites for this course. Students are, however, expected to have a background in both hydrology and development. As a result, at least one (if not both) of GEOG 2020: Hydroclimatology and GEOG 2014: The Geography of Global Poverty is strongly recommended.