Ethiopia

Ethiopia faces water crisis within 20 years, German group warns

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Addis Ababa (dpa) - Unless Ethiopia's rapid population growth was checked in time, water scarcity would become a serious problem within 20 years, the German Foundation for World Population (DSW) warned in a press statement published Saturday in Addis Ababa.

The prevailing drought in Ethiopia that has exposed over 12 million Ethiopians to the risk of starvation at the beginning of 2003, was also attributable to the food crisis in the country stemming from water-related problems, it said.

"If we do not help those poverty stricken and arid countries such as Ethiopia, to curb the growth rate of their ever expanding populations, our efforts to avoid future famines will be made all the more difficult,'' DSW director Hans Fleisch warned.

The DSW statement noted that the per capita cubic meters freshwater supplies in Ethiopia at present had sunk to a critical level of around 1,700, which was expected to decrease even further to 1,000 cubic meters within the next 20 years.

"Without sufficient supplies of water, there will be no further chance of development, and the chances of survival are also bleak,'' Fleisch said.

He pointed out that it was essential to slow the rate of population growth through family planning, "if the dangers of drought and famine are to be confronted, let alone overcome''.

The Ethiopian population had doubled to over 67 million within a space of just 25 years, and would grow by a further 50 million in the next 25 years, the statement said, attributing the figures to U.N. data on population.

Ethiopia's population would almost triple to about 190 million by 2050 if the prevailing growth rate continues unchecked.

dpa gh ds AP-NY-02-08-03 0443EST

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/08/2003 04:44:04

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