The climatic feature of most significance for development in Africa is rainfall. Previous discussion (Chs. 5 & 6) has illustrated the fact that most areas of Africa have moisture deficits for a portion of the year, and vast areas (e.g. the Sahara) have moisture deficits throughout the whole year. Compounding the problem of water availability is the nature of the underlying rocks found in Africa (Ch. 1). Given that the basement rocks found within most of Africa are impermeable, most of the continent has but modest groundwater resources. As a result of these climatic and geologic characteristics, water availability is a crucial issue in resource development. In this chapter we examine the primary characteristics of Africa’s surface waters – its lakes, rivers, and wetlands.