WATCH: Wesgro releases first-of-its-kind water offset tool

2018-04-18 19:00 - Ethan Van Diemen
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Cape Town was very close to having the taps turned off (Photo: iStock)

Cape Town - The Mother City has been hard-hit by the water shortage but it is make responsible tourism in roads as a result. 

Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities on Wednesday, 18 April launched another pioneering South African first - the My Water Foot Print tool, the world’s first water-offset tool. 

The tool, launched at World Travel Market Africa - taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre until 20 April, is expected to boost responsible and water-wise tourism in Cape Town, and the Western Cape, as it shows signs of a slow emergence from a disastrous drought.

SEE: #WaterScarcity: Hanekom calls on travellers to keep saving water as Cape Town tops world's 20 most at risk cities

Created by Wesgro in conjunction with For Love Of Water (FLOW), the tool is a part of the campaign to encourage, and provide reassurance to, tourists to the Cape to practice water-wise tourism and be water conscious.

The tool operates through a simple, user-friendly interface allowing visitors to calculate their daily water usage and then offsetting this usage by donating money to water conservation projects. The logic behind this initiative is that visitors to the water-stressed region (and water-scarce country) are not only incentivised to monitor their water usage by making use of the tool, but they will also be able to rest in ease knowing they are an active part of the water-wise tourism solution too.

MAP: Where travellers don't have to worry about water restrictions in the Western Cape

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris says, “Cape Town and the Western Cape - Africa’s leading tourist region - is coming back stronger from its severe drought, and the joint response from government, business and the tourism industry is emerging as best practices for promoting ‘water-wise tourism’ in the face of climate change. This new online tool is yet another way our destination is leading in this effort”. Few would argue that Cape Town has shown incredible resilience in the face of disaster. Harris continued to state that “The Cape Town Model for dealing with climate change shows how tourism can be an important part of the solution, and we look forward to sharing some of our initiatives with many other places around the world.” 

SEE: #WaterScarcity: Best water-wise places to stay across SA

Winde added that “...the world is looking to Cape Town as the example on reducing water usage and the My Water Footprint initiative is just another way we’re innovating around water usage to ensure that each and every citizen, and each and every visitor, has the tools they need to reduce and save. Water-wise tourism efforts like these are putting Cape Town and the Western Cape on the map as a leading responsible tourism destination, securing thousands of jobs in our hospitality industry.”

How the My Water Foot Print tool works

Whether you’re on desktop or mobile, head on over www.mywaterfootprint.capetown and start there. Through a fun, whimsical and interactive interface, visitors calculate their water usage by selecting how many showers they’ll take, how many litres of water they’ll drink, how many times they’ll brush their teeth or wash their lines in addition to many other water consuming practices that they are likely to engage in while in Cape Town and the Western Cape. 

Using this information, the inbuilt calculation tool will generate “flow credits” - a currency created solely around the usage of water in the area. These “flow credits” can then be used to offset their water usage to water saving projects. In doing so, not only will they be conscientising themselves about their water consumption habits but they will also be supporting local water initiatives.

The Greater Cape Town Water Fund is one of these water local initiatives that seek to remove invasive alien plant species thereby saving billions of litres of water. Justin Friedman, the founder of FLOW, went so far as to say that “...by simply cutting down the alien vegetation, we can regenerate our dams...”. The Smart Water Meter Challenge is another initiative that is aimed at saving water at schools across the City of Cape Town through the installation of a water monitoring device called the Dropula which monitor flow and usage while providing information that optimises water usage to reduce wastage and save water. 

Watch these SA water 'survivalists' outdo each other with their water-saving measures