National Water Week: Our respo

Theewaterskloof between Grabouw and Villiersdorp, South Africa

National Water Week: Our responsibility as South Africans

As South Africa’s water blues continue, National Water Week reminds us of our responsibility to save water.

National Water Week: Our respo

Theewaterskloof between Grabouw and Villiersdorp, South Africa

National Water Week aims to highlight the value of water in South Africa.

Most important is the need for sustainable management regarding this scarce resource, emphasised in the recent drought in Cape Town and a possible national water crisis within a decade.

This is of special importance as South Africa’s main source of water is rain and climate change has recently been limiting the jewels from that water source.

Water further plays a key role in eradicating poverty and under-development in South Africa.

The theme for 2019 is “Water is Life – 20 Years of Water Delivery for Social and Economic Development” and the campaign takes place from 17 to 23 March 2019.

South Africa’s water quality

While South Africa’s water quality is rated amongst the best in the world and is one of only a handful of African countries in which it is safe to drink tap water, this is not the case for some parts of the country.

South Africa’s water quality praises may also change if there is not a heightened focus on water infrastructure and maintenance.

According to ENCA, the country may be reaching a crisis point.

A major challenge, affecting water, infrastructure and sanitation, is the growing population, which is growing at a higher rate than these services can meet.

While the recent drought has opened our eyes regarding water issues, are we giving enough attention to the little water we have left?

According to;

 “In South Africa the scarce fresh water is decreasing in quality because of an increase in pollution and the destruction of river catchments, caused by urbanisation, deforestation, damming of rivers, destruction of wetlands, industry, mining, agriculture, energy use, and accidental water pollution.”

Water scarcity in South Africa

Since the year 2013, almost every region in South Africa has experienced some sort of drought which resulted in water restrictions across the country.

South Africa’s rainfall per m² is from 300mm to 500mm per year, which is below the world average.

To make things worse, this rain is distributed unevenly across the country, with certain regions getting more rain than others.

The Western Province has been the worst affected area with regard to a shortage of rainfall.

The Cape Town water crisis was a period of severe water shortages due to low levels of rain, peeking between 2017 and 2018 where water levels hovered between 15 to 30 per cent of total dam capacity.

In March 2018 the City of Cape Town succeeded in reducing nearly half of its water usage to 500 million litres by implementing water restrictions.

South Africa’s water usage

South Africans guzzle up 235 litres of water per person per day, which is higher than the world average of 185 litres.

With Gauteng right at the top consuming 305 litres and Northern Cape consuming 235 litres of water per person per day.

National Water Week outlines that it is not only the responsibility of officials to save the country from the water crisis but ours too.

Here is a list of ways to save water:

  • Use the shower instead of the bath.
  • Do not spend more time than necessary in the shower.
  • Use towels multiple times.
  • Fill some water in the sink when washing dishes, instead of allowing the tap to run.
  • Turn off the water while soaping or brushing your teeth.
  • Catch cold water while you are waiting for warm water and use it for something different, such as watering the plants.
  • Do not turn the washing machine on to wash only a few things.

As citizens of a semi-arid nation, it is especially important for South Africans to be conscious of their water usage.