Cape Town - It's the UN's World Water Day and if there is one thing South Africans are more aware of it is how precious water is as a resource.
With some three provinces experiences drought disasters across the country and Cape Town battling the side-effects of dramatic water restrictions of 50l or less per person - every day is Water Day.
Cape Town's collective water use has gone up again to an average of 565Ml a day after the City quietly moved Day Zero to 2019."Unfortunately, usage has increased by 54 million litres per day from last week's record low of 511 million litres per day," said Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson in a statement on Tuesday.
Albeit the city has reduced its water consumption by nearly 60% in just 3 years, however it's a daily target that needs to be addressed. Tools helping to monitor and achieve this include the #WaterWiseTourism an informative platform with details on the water saving initiatives and events as well as a drought map highlighting areas that are not as severely affected by the drought.
Wesgro and GreenCape have confirmed they will also be organising a special dialogue meeting to discuss how the Cape can strengthen its water sector - with a water off-set tool soon to be launched, allowing visitors to assess their consumption as well as donate to organisations working to minimising usage every day.
A different look at water-saving
Adding to the key Water Scarcity message, Sea Monster Entertainment, a South African animation company has launched a series of animations that look at water-saving tips in a artful and entertaining way.
The videos are intended to hopefully inspire the public to follow suit.
The first video of the series was released a month ago and the second just six days ago and the motto of their initiative is to implore people to Think Beyond Today. They don't distinctly indicate how many videos they plan to release, but you can assume that there will be videos released on their Vimeo account on a monthly basis.
The videos are short and sweet and sit at about 35 seconds each keeping the water crisis message - much like our showers ought to be - short and to the point.
READ: #WaterScarcity: Living the water-less life during National Water Week
The first video looks at how we all form part of the water cycle and debating or fighting each other will not miraculously solve it. It examines how pointing fingers and blaming will not somehow call upon the heavens to open up to bless the rains down in southern Africa.
See the video below:
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The second video demonstrates some water-saving tips, such as: using alternative sources of water, taking showers instead of baths, replacing your shower head to lessen water wastage, collecting the grey water to fill the cistern and, of course, high-fiving your efforts afterward.
See the video below:
SEE: #WaterCrisis: Why nature reserves are important for our water systems
According to their website, the company indicates that it wants people to look at the water crisis from a different angle.
"Most of South Africa’s citizens (and many around the world) have had to make a plan about getting water their whole lives. Now it is clear and present danger for all of us. We’ve got an opportunity to think about water differently, and decide what type of people we’re going to be.
"We all form part of the water cycle. Make sure your contribution is a positive one."
Stay posted with Sea Monster Entertainment to see more of their tips and tricks to being water savvy and their videos that showcase sustainable tourism in practice in an easy-to-digest and fun way.
ALSO READ: #WaterScarcity: Hanekom calls on travellers to keep saving water as Cape Town tops world's 20 most at risk cities
In other water related news...
The WWF have released their weekly Wednesday Water File (WWF) report regarding the present state of the water crisis. The latest report, released on Human Right's Day, 21 March, highlights the issue and the state of our water sources.
The report had outlined the following: where our water is sourced from, the water sourcing areas in SA, the role of nature for those in the city, our natural water sources, the problems surrounding sources, the maintenance of water sources, the government's role, the effects of climate change, how to better manage our catchments and possible benefits of natural solutions.
The full PDF report can be viewed here.
ALSO CHECK OUT: #CapeWaterCrisis: Day Zero has been moved, now what?
Some of the key points mentioned in the report were:
- While we collect water from the closed water cycle in our dams - we need to account for the natural processes along the water catchment area before the water reaches our storage facilities. Such as when the water flows through wetlands, rivers and aquifers in the natural environment before reaching the dams or engineered infrastructure.
- When it comes to living in the city - nature is vital in ensuring our water supply. Very little water is re-used or recycled through desalination - even with the drought having brought on desalination efforts in the Cape - as less than 10% of the treated waste water is re-used presently. This makes natural water resources (aquifers, rivers and wetlands) our primary source of water, and we get better quality and higher yields of water when these catchments are healthy and unpolluted.
- Under our National Water Act No. 36 of 1998, catchment areas should be looked after by nine different Catchment Management Agencies around the country. But, only two of these have been set up so far, and even those are not fully functional - this gap presently hinders planning for how catchments are considered long term for future development and making decisions about how to use our land and water resources. Landowners or managers - farmers, foresters and nature conservation agencies - are really important custodians of our catchment areas. The decisions and actions of communal and private landowners, and many government departments (mining, agriculture, environment, district government) affect our water source areas, and most of the time these decisions are not prioritising our water security.
- With climate change, the Western Cape is likely to get drier. More intense storms are predicted for some of the summer rainfall areas in the east of the country and Gauteng. This puts more pressure on our natural landscapes and means that their health is ever more important for our future water security. The spread of alien invasive vegetation in the catchment areas runs the risk of our rivers running dry. During the drought we have become acutely aware that the estimated 38 million m3 soaked up by alien vegetation is water that we can’t afford to lose any longer. Clearing these alien plants out of our catchments is imperative - this could deliver more water faster and more cheaply than, for instance, energy-intensive desalination.
- Strong coordination between many government departments, landowners and private companies is needed to protect and restore natural landscapes that give us water. This desperately needs a coordinating agency. Water User Associations (irrigation farmers), Fire Protection Associations and NGOs are already managing natural resources in these landscapes and have also stepped in to restore wetlands and clear alien vegetation. Money from Expanded Public Works is being used to create jobs in active restoration and clearing, and the private sector has also used corporate social investment (CSI) funding for partnerships. But much more still needs to be done.
- In a world of increasing demands and greater volatility under climate change, we need to make wise use of what we have. Healthy, intact landscapes are more resilient to the shocks of climate change. The catchments that feed our dams need specific management and attention to stop their degradation. Decisions about how we use and build on land need to take account of the impacts on water resources. Looking after natural areas in our cities also enhances groundwater recharge and slows storm flows into our rivers.
Need to improve your water-saving game? The latest WWF Day Zero Prep: Bucket List will help you do the trick.
This is what this week's bucket list included:
- FIND OUT where your water comes from (wwf.org.za/journeyofwater) and start speaking up for their protection.
- There are many local 'Friends of …' groups that do river or wetland clean-ups or hacks to clear alien vegetation. GET INVOLVED.
- ENCOURAGE YOUR COMPANY for to take part in water stewardship. This involves their own core business impacts as well as projects in water source areas they rely on.
They've also included this nifty map showing just where SA's water sources are:
See how the world is spreading the word about #WorldWaterDay: