Water crisis in Algeria may get worse

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A report on the availability of potable water in Africa has listed Algeria among 17 African countries affected by water shortage.

According to the report, issued by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), the findings were obtained by considering the shortage threshold set by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or the World Bank at 1, 000 cubic metres per capita annually.

In theory, the current water availability per capita in Algeria is 500 cubilc metres, down from 1, 500 cubic metres in 1962. It is projected that it will further reduce to 450 cubic metres in 2020.

Some 87% of the Algerian population, most of whom live in cities, have access to safe drinking water.

Algeria has a rural population of 13.8 million out of an overall population of 34 million.

The report blame the water shortage on, among others, poor resources committed to the provision of potable water, ageing supply networks as well as uncontrolled connections to water and sanitation systems.

To address the problems and ensure that the people have access to safe drinking water, the Algerian government plans to commit US$18 billion to fund 4,000 rural development projects between 2008 and 2011.

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