The dual dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic and a water crisis in the Nile Basin, and how communities are searching for solutions.
Water is a basic need to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases. But climate change is worsening water scarcity in Africa’s Nile River basin. Communities that already struggle with access to water are even more at risk when faced with droughts and floods that reduce, harm, contaminate or destroy water and sanitation infrastructure. How are communities in the Nile Basin gaining access to clean water to keep themselves safe during the pandemic?
We worked with 32 journalists from nine Nile Basin countries to report on their water challenges and solutions in a time of crisis, conducting data-based reporting in partnership with Code for Africa. Most of the journalists worked in pairs: collaborations between a TV, newspaper or online journalist and a local radio journalist.
Check out the “Stories” tab for original investigative reports and inspiring stories of solutions. Explore the interactive map to pinpoint the areas most vulnerable to changing rainfall and runoff patterns - factors that contribute to droughts and floods - and those that are already facing water scarcity.
The water access data represents the percentage of households with access to an improved water source, defined as piped water (either into dwelling, into compound, yard or plot, or to neighbour), protected wells, springs or boreholes, rainwater collection, and bottled water (only if the secondary source of water used for cooking and hygiene is improved). Unimproved water sources include unprotected wells, unprotected springs, carts with small tank/drum, tanker trucks, and surface water (river, dam, lake, pond, stream, canal, irrigation channels), and bottled water (when the secondary water source is not improved).
Most of this data was sourced from the Demographic and Health Surveys , which are nationally representative surveys on health and population in developing countries implemented by ICF International with funding from USAID, various UN agencies, WHO and other partners. Some data was sourced from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, which are household surveys implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund in developing countries on the situation of children and women. The DHS and MICS teams work in close collaboration. The data was sourced from the most recent surveys, which differed per country:
- Burundi: 2016-2017 (DHS)
- DRC: 2018 (MICS)
- Egypt: 2014 (DHS)
- Eritrea: 2002 (DHS)
- Kenya 2015 (DHS)
- Rwanda: 2017 (DHS)
- South Sudan: 2010 (MICS)
- Sudan: 2014 (MICS)
- Tanzania: 2017 (DHS)
- Uganda: 2018-2019 (DHS)
Rainfall and Runoff
The rainfall and runoff data was sourced from the Flood and Drought Monitor, which is a project implemented by UNEP, DHI and the International Water Association with funding from the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations. The data looked both at historical rainfall/runoff data starting from year 2000 and climate change projections data for 2020-2035. The rainfall/runoff data was used to generate a hydrological model that allows the user to run, calibrate and execute forecasted and projected simulations based on the data included in the portal. The data relied on the NAM model, a lumped and conceptual model for imitating runoff from rainfall.
The climate change projections data in this map used the RCP 4.5 scenario, which is a stabilization scenario for climate change that assumes a moderate temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Celsius by 2100 and a radiative forcing level that stabilizes at 4.5 W/m2 before 2100 by employment of a range of technologies and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
A Project by: InfoNile
Stories by: Fredrick Mugira, Annika McGinnis, Javier Silas Omagor, Arnest Tumwesige, Felix Basiime, Jonan Tusingwiire, Sarah Mawerere, and Noah Omuya in Uganda; Mekonnen Teshome, Tesfaye Abate, Konjit Teshome and Dawit Tolesa in Ethiopia; Heneliko Malo, Grace Mwakalinga, Jacob Mugini, Joyce Mgoya and Christopher Gamaina in Tanzania; Daniel Nzahabonimana, Fred Mwasa and Sylidio Sebuharara in Rwanda; Hervé Mukulu Vulotwa in DR Congo; Rawnaa Al-Masry in Egypt; Henry Owino, George Achia, Samuel Munia, Cynthia Gichiri, Justus Wanjala, Calvin Wanga, Emma Omuke, and Laura Otieno in Kenya; and Lujain Fathalrahman and Yusr Abdalwahab in Sudan.
Story Data Visualizations and Data Mentorship by Code for Africa:Tricia Govindasamy, Sakina Salem, Emma Kisa, Joseph Dokhare, Bilal Taïrou, Victoria Omomhenle, John Eromosele, Daniel Odongo, and Zahara Tunda; oversight by Jacopo Ottaviani and Esther Ndagire
Principal Investigators and Editors: Annika McGinnis and Fredrick Mugira
Maps Data Research and Analysis: Annika McGinnis and Ruth Mwizeere
Maps and Dashboard Design and Development: Daniel Muhanguzi and Noel Kawanguzi; support from Annika McGinnis, Megan Lee, Fredrick Mugira, and Ruth Mwizeere
Project Coordination and Communications: Ruth Mwizeere and Sarah Namulondo
InfoNile Country Coordinators and Translators: Geoffrey Kamadi, Konjit Teshome, Lujain Alsedeg, Jean-Pierre Afadhali, and Florence Majani
This project was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the National Geographic Society