National Water Week: SA flies flag for global Waste Water drive

2017-03-13 14:30 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - South Africa is a water-scarce country where every drop counts. 

Over the past two years, SA has struggled to keep abreast of the crippling drought, the effects of which have been more evident than ever before.

It is encouraging to note that some parts of the country such as Gauteng have recovered after a good rainy season at the start of 2017, but for the Western Cape a late rainy season could spell even more of a disaster.

As a result, National Water Week could not be more essential in educating people on the value of water. 

SEE: Cape dams seep lower as Gauteng water restrictions eased

NOTE: National Water Week will be taking place from 20 to 26 March in accordance with the international Water Day on 22 March

SA on the forefront of Waste Water utilisation globally 

This year, there will be a specific focus on Waste Water, aka the "Untapped Resource", and the United Nations World Water Development Report 2017 driving this initiative will be launched on World Water Day in Durban. See more info on the conference here

The event will not only see the unveiling of the initiative of the United Nations and World Bank High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) on “Access to water and sanitation for 10 Billion people” to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also the adoption of the political Declaration on World Water Day 2017.

ALSO SEE: #KnowYourWater Project To Tap Sustainability Potential Of SA's Groundwater

What Is Waste Water, And How Can We Use It? 

Let's face it: We’re all wasters when it comes to wastewater. 

Every time we use water, we produce wastewater. And instead of reusing it, reports from the UN shows that we let 80% of it just flow down the drain. 

Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it. In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

How can you help, you ask? Here are 5 Ways in which you can actively part-take in World Water Day and our National Water Week - 

Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or soaping yourself in the shower or doing dishes or scrubbing vegetables. Otherwise, you’re just making wastewater without even using it!
Don't pollute your wastewater. Put rubbish, oils, chemicals, and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.

Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bathtub and use it on plants and gardens, and to wash your bike or car. This is easier than it sounds... you can simply add a bucket to your shower, collect the water and use that you wash the car.  

ALSO SEE: 10+ Super-easy tips to save water

Measure your water usage. We do not actually know the amount of water we use and waste, and measuring our actual usage is the first step in taking action. You can download the local Drop Drop! - a new mobile app that was developed by University of Cape Town (UCT) to help residents use water responsibly.

READ: Drop Drop! The new mobile app that helps you save water
Be a responsible traveller. This sounds simple, but if more travellers support sustainable tourism practices, this will surely become the norm. Help your hotel of choice to save water by not washing the towels and linen daily, for example, or support attractions that focuses extensively on saving.  

The Hotel Verde in Cape Town serve as a prime example, being the first in the world to achieve a double platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. SA also has three Diamond Heritage Environmental Rating attractions in the form of Two Oceans Aquarium, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and Tsogo Sun’s Drakensberg Sun Resort.

The water passing through us and our homes is on a journey through the water cycle. "By reducing the quantity and pollution of our wastewater, and by safely reusing it as much as we can, we’re all helping to protect our most precious resource,"  the UN says. 

Check out the video below for the chilling truth about the world's water - 

Global water crisis 

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated 22 March as World Water Day. 

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.

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