In the frame of for a specific aid for financing international bilateral climate protection activities launched by the Government of Hungary on 3 January 2019, VTK Innosystem Ltd has gained support for the development of WATER MANAGEMENT CONCEPT with special regard to the reuse of treated communal wastewater for irrigation purposes in Republic of Cape Verde.
The development process of this WATER MANAGEMENT CONCEPT study included status analysis, overview of social, legal, economical and institutional frames, inventory of resources and assessment, identification of sources and demand, of future potentials and targets, all related to the water resources availability and usage. The investigation concluded with the development of a concept presenting the preferable development measures necessary to achieve the medium-term goals set out by the Government of Cape Verde. The works was carried out in co-operation with the National Water and Sanitation Agency (ANAS) of Cape Verde, providing us with professional consultations, organisation of field trips and public participation events, and with most of the base data and information.
Cape Verde, an archipelago of volcanic origin, as other members of the Macaronesian island chains located in the Sahel’s Zone has got typical arid – semi-arid climate. Freshwater resources are vitally important to satisfy the basic needs; an insufficient protection of its quality and its supply can be a major barrier to sustainable development. In these countries, numerous health risks are linked to the poor quality of the water and its insufficiency.
Cape Verde has been suffering with continuous threat of drought, with the lack of rainfall in some periods, as well as its irregularity in others. The increase in population, urban development, irrigation needs, tourism and industry, combined with drought in recent years, has provided drought impact that tends to widen over time. Water acts as a resource that conditions the economic development as well as the social well-being of Cape Verde. The floods are also a source of risk and can significantly increase with climate change. The rugged relief, shallow soils and sparse vegetal cover allow the formation of fast water currents when torrential rains occur. The fact that there isn’t enough capacity to capture and store rainwater, during the rainy season there is an important loss of arable land and surface water.
Based on the available precipitation data, climate change is expected to increase extremes, but the data of the individual precipitation stations do not show decreasing trend. This is important because rainfall on the islands is the only source of fresh water. No decrease in water resources is expected during the period under review. According to the available data, the impact of climate change on water resources is less than meeting rising water demands.
In the last decade, the Government of Cape Verde elaborated several strategic documents aiming to the adaptation to climate change, the increase of the availability of water resources and the handling of the fast-growing water demands of the households, industry, tourism and agriculture.
Based on these documents new regulations were issued, and a few programs were commenced for these purposes including the retention of surface runoff by the construction of dams, installation of desalination plants for potable water supply, and establishment of groundwater exploitation boreholes to provide water for households and agriculture.
After the considerations of all the aspects given above the Water Management Concept document provides analysis of the water balances for each island, taking into account the available water resources from groundwater, surface water, desalinated water and reused treated wastewater of various quality on one hand and the different types of water demands with emphasis on the agricultural potentials on the other hand, both at present and at the time horizon of year 2030. Water balances highlighted the availabilities and shortages of water with appropriate quality for the various purposes and designated the directions of development fitting to the characteristics of the different islands.
The assessment clearly showed that the reuse of treated wastewater shall play an essential role in sustainable meeting water demands In Cape Verde. The purposes of use may be different as the islands have different agricultural potentials. Efforts should be made to collect and treat as much wastewater as possible, which not only extends the possibilities of water resources management but is also an important condition for the protection of groundwater.