#SAWaterCrisis: Gauteng warned of water wastage

2018-02-15 18:09 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - As Capetonians focus on reducing their water consumption to avoid Day Zero - set for 4 June - other provinces across South Africa are bracing for unpredictable weather conditions in 2018. 

With three provinces declared drought disasters, rapidly dropping water levels and water wastage in places is a stark reality. 

Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape is already facing frighteningly low dam levels - despite recent rainfall - while some municipalities in Gauteng have to tackle water-wastage before they too reach a similar fate as Cape Town.

ALSO SEE: Nelson Mandela Bay remains open to tourists despite on-going drought

While Nelson Mandela Bay has implemented contingency plans and strategies to prevent the city from completely exhausting all its water supplies, others need to be extremely cautious. 

Philip van Staden‚ Freedom Front Plus MPL for Gauteng says municipalities in Gauteng need to stop wasting water.

Water-wastage in the province is of particular concern as Gauteng's Vaal Dam only recently recovered from serious drought and water restrictions in 2016.

SEE: Vaal dam overflows: Before and after pics show dramatic recovery

In February 2017, the department of water and sanitation confirmed that the Vaal Dam was officially at 100% - but this was only the first time it was at full capacity in six years. One would expect the municipalities and its residents to take greater caution in managing and using water having just recovered from recent water shortages.

According to van Staden, Gauteng's Rand West Municipality‚ Merafong Municipality and Mogale City report water losses of 65%‚ 50% and 44% respectively, while Johannesburg lost 44%‚ Emfuleni 32%‚ Ekurhuleni 30,1%‚ Midvaal 28%‚ Lesedi 22% and Tshwane lost 20%. He says this brings the total water loss for Gauteng municipalities to 36%‚ and the national figure to 36,7%.

ALSO SEE: #WaterCrisis: 9 Cities also inching closer to their own #DayZero

He says that water loss and wastage is due to theft and vandalism of infrastructure‚ non-payment‚ water meters that do not work correctly‚ water leakages‚ burst pipes‚ leaking reservoirs‚ theft of water through illegal connections‚ households wasting water, poor maintenance and old infrastructure.

Van Staden says that if urgent attention is not given to saving water and maintaining water infrastructure‚ then Gauteng will soon be in Cape Town's position, but warns that it will be "on a much larger scale". He adds that sinking boreholes and collecting rainwater for household use are options to start saving water in advance.

Hospitality industry playing its part in Mother City

Meanwhile, Cape Town businesses continue to decrease water usage. In addition to a number of hotels playing their part to save water, hospitality managing agent, First Group's Mount Sierra, Hastings Hall and Riviera Suites in Cape Town have all intensified their efforts to save water.

ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Leading SA hotel group builds its own desalination plant

First Group Services and Resorts Director, Johann Jordaan, says that the hospitality company is installing boreholes "to supply the full water needs of each property to ensure that our guest service levels will not be compromised". He confirms that Mount Sierra’s borehole installation is complete, and Hastings Hall and Riviera Suites will be finished by the end of February.

He adds that a priority is promoting water conservation behaviour among staff and guests.

“We want our guests to be part of the sustainable tourism experience of saving water and helping the Cape water crisis," he says, adding that they also hope that guests will return home to continue practicing these water-saving methods.

How are Mount Sierra, Hastings Hall and Riviera Suites saving water?

  • According to Jordaan, staff have adopted a responsible ‘every drop counts’ approach and encourage guests to do the same.
  • In-room notices to save water are constantly creating awareness.
  • There are buckets in the shower to catch the water while it heats - this water is used for the daily cleaning and toilets.
  • Bath plugs have been removed and guests are requested to take quick showers.
  • Laundry has been reduced - sheets and towels are changed after guests check out.
  • Linen tablecloths and serviettes in the restaurants have been replaced with paper alternatives.
  • Grass has been replaced with synthetic grass and most plants have also been removed.
  • Water readings are checked daily to ensure that any leaks are quickly detected and immediately repaired.

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