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6 Civil Engineering Technologies that can bring clean water to Africa

Even in the traditionally rural continent of Africa, the urban population of cities is growing immensely. And in this particular area, that has presented certain challenges for civil engineering — most specifically, in the case of providing sufficient levels of clean water. And in this article, we’ll explore some of the newest technologies for civil engineering that could help with such hurdles.

The Process of Desalination

One of the most popular theories on the ways that civil engineering can help with water shortages is the ever-present idea of desalination. In 2021, we’ve got more ways than ever to process saline water and treat it in a way that would produce drinkable clean water — all of them are collectively called “desalination”. It should be noted that solar desalination seems to be one of the most viable solutions for Africa — along with distillation facilities based on vapor compression.

But in its essence, the simplest version of this process entails distilling water and collecting the water vapor that comes after steam. This has been viable since the 1960s, with various degrees of cost-efficiency and complexity.

Irrigation in Agriculture

When it comes to water use and scarcity — it’s always important to see where most of the demand lays before focusing on the supply. And just as you may have guessed it — the agriculture industries across the continent take up the majority of the water use on an annual basis. As a result, communities have trouble balancing their water supplies when the public needs conflict with those of the agriculture industry.

Luckily, civil engineers have been devising methods for smart farming that allow for better management of water resources; thus preventing communities from mismanaging their clean water with complex algorithms for soil moisture monitoring.

Treatment of Wastewater

In communities where the public infrastructure is not at the modern urban standard — it’s sometimes difficult to figure out the best way to get rid of human wastewater. Naturally, this process is immensely important for a number of reasons — from virulent toxins, harmful chemicals, to dangerous bacteria that all reside in sewage water.

Luckily, civil engineering technology today not only allows us to get rid of wastewater in rural areas more easily; you can basically convert this water into perfectly clean drinking water!

Water Purifying Sachet

As you can see, wastewater is an extremely deadly problem for fatalities in underdeveloped and developing countries. The result of this is a race to develop the most cost-effective and viable solution for cheaply helping said countries combat this issue. One of the current best solutions that civil engineering has are sachets — powdered mixtures that are specifically formulated to eliminate dangerous microorganisms from water that would otherwise remain contaminated.

These packets can be incredibly powerful — for instance, one unit of the powder is potentially capable of purifying 10 liters of contaminated water into completely usable and drinkable water!

Tablets for Water Purification

You might have already guessed it from the previous entry on our list — but water purification tablets work in pretty much the same fashion as the abovementioned sachets do. If you take these tablets and apply them to contaminated water, they can get rid of microorganisms like viruses or bacteria that could be extremely dangerous to humans. The chlorine dioxide, iodine, and chlorine that these tablets contain do their job incredibly well.

Best of all, once the water is cleaned, there is no additional procedure to remove the chlorine — giving enough time after removing the container’s lid, the substance will simply evaporate and remove itself.

Decentralization of distillation units

Normally, centralized systems for water dispersion connect the homes of all the citizens in a given area to the main pipeline — one that leads to the main source of water. And in an area where there is plenty of drinking water, that’s probably the most effective system. However, if we’re talking about water-deprived regions like Africa — the local infrastructure needs to be adapted to these different conditions.

Considering this, decentralized units for water distillation make maintenance issues far easier to deal with, seeing as individual problems do not necessarily affect the entire network.


As is evident, there are more than a few ways in which civil engineering technologies in Africa may look to the future; all that’s needed is to provide the right analyses of the most optimal techniques in the right communities first. But certainly, the advancements in construction technologies will make locals’ lives far easier in the near future. We hope that this article was useful to you and that you have learned something new on this subject. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are going through and have a good one, guys!

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