BOURA, Mauritania — In the face of desertification, the landscape of the coastal West African nation becomes more pockmarked by the day. Residents are intensifying their search for sources of water. When makeshift wells run dry, Mauritanians walk as far as 90 kilometers to find water, reports IRIN News.
Digging new wells can be dangerous. “While digging a well last year [in Maal], two people died when the sand caved in,” says regional prefect Sidi Ahmed Ould Mouebib. “And for those who do successfully dig their wells, the uncovered water is tainted by sand, dead animals, and anything that floats in.”
Not only that, but the desert-riddled country already struggles provide safe water for its nearly three million nomadic residents. A feat Mouebib believes cannot be accomplished if people remain unwilling to share with each other.
“Villagers refuse to group together to share resources. These villagers did not take into account distance from water sources when they settled down; there was no rural planning,” he tells IRIN News. “They each want their own schools, water pumps, health clinics. How do we explain to them there is only limited water that can provide for their needs, and only so far we can distribute it?”
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Source: IRIN News