Cape Town - Today is World Water Day and if the 2017 World Water Development report, as detailed by President Jacob Zuma at the World Water Day Summit Expo is anything to go by - the situation globally is dire.
Zuma painted a bleak global picture according to the report that "requires world leaders to urgently prioritise the improvement of access to essential water and sanitation services."
According to the World Water Council, 32 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe drinking water. The water problem is particularly serious in sub-Saharan Africa, where some of the world's poorest live and water-borne diseases like cholera are common.
"Africa and Asia are the continents most affected by scarcity of safe water, with Papua New Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Angola reporting that clean water is available to less than 50 percent of their populations."
Governments are being urged "to contribute a relevant part of their budget to projects that make safe water available to all on the planet."
'32 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe drinking water'
The expo is currently taking place between 22-24 March at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Center in Durban.
"Thus far, one hundred and forty seven countries have met the SDG drinking water target. Ninety five countries have met the sanitation target and only seventy seven countries have met both," Zuma said in an opening address statement.
"These statistics do not do justice in conveying the development and health challenges faced by so many people, or in contextualising how unevenly these basic services are distributed around the world and within societies.
"For example, it was reported that, in 2011, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s one billion extremely poor people lived in just five countries. It seems that little has changed since 2011."
"Looking ahead, this unacceptable situation will only get worse, unless we join forces around the world to create equal chances for success at all levels in our race against time to secure the most precious resource of freshwater, for current and future generations."
And one of the ways the world is joining forces is through #WorldWaterDay awareness.
International World Water Day is celebrated annually as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year’s theme is “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource"– This deals with how we can re-use and recycle water.
Water situation in Cape Town a disaster
With roughly 103 days of usable water left in Western Cape dams, the city needs to take precautions in their usage of water.
In just a week, the dam levels have dropped by 1.4% with residents consuming 750 million litres a day, the target set by the city is 700 million litres per day. There is effectively 18.6% of usable drinking water left in the city’s dams.
The City of Cape Town says, "We are at a tipping point where our behaviour and way that we view all water sources must start changing – not only because of a drought but as a long-term goal of becoming a more water-sensitive city.
'Volume of the Wemmershoek Dam saved'
"During this time of drought, the total volume of water saved since January 2016 (since the start of Level 2 restrictions) to February 2017 is equivalent to the volume of the Wemmershoek Dam. By the end of May 2017 we therefore hope to have saved the equivalent volume of the larger Berg River Dam."
"And since Cape Town especially is situated in a water-scarce region and climate change will continue to exacerbate our situation."
Our relationship with water must change
Our relationship with water must change. It is changing already, largely due to the drought. But, the danger exists that, when the first proper winter rain comes, we will revert back to our old behaviours. If this were to happen, we would be setting ourselves up for failure."
SEE: National Water Week: SA flies flag for global Waste Water drive
"Our relationship with water must change. It is changing already, largely due to the drought. But, the danger exists that, when the first proper winter rain comes, we will revert back to our old behaviours. If this were to happen, we would be setting ourselves up for failure,"says City’s Mayoral Committee for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg.
The total volume of water saved since January 2016 (since the start of Level 2 restrictions) to February 2017 is equivalent to the volume of the Wemmershoek Dam. The target by the end of May 2017 is to have saved the equivalent volume of the larger Berg River Dam.
This is an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.
In doing just little things such as not leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth can help to save water. The idea of WasteWater is to learn how to reuse and recycle water and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target.
Here are some tips that Traveller24 put together to help us all save water.
Other initiatives that help save water
1. Beach Clean-Up
According to the World UN Report 80% of the world's wastewater is released to the environment without treatment. And with only 2.5% of 70% of the world’s water fresh, we need to keep the rubbish out of the water.
5FM and the two Ocean’s recently collaborated for a Cape Town Beach Clean-up. The city tackled and cleaned five different beaches and areas on a Saturday.
This clean-up could be done twice a month to ensure that the water does not get populated.
2. Use the Drop-Drop app
Many might struggle in keeping track in the amount of water they use and this is where Drop Drop comes into play. All you need to do is enter a reading from the municipality's external water meter, which is connected to you home and DROP DROP will calculate your projected water usage for the month and provide you with an estimate of your water bill. From this information, you can then see how much water you are using and the app also makes suggestions on how and where you can save water.