What is the (water)WISE thing to do when it comes to the water crisis in Cape Town and surrounding provinces in South Africa?
We hate to break it to you, but we must be realistic.
We are all under the impression that ‘this too shall pass’, now we don’t mean to be a negative Nancy but it looks like we are in this crisis for the long run.
Can we blame ourselves for make-believing in a safe future without these stresses? No, not particularly, our government doesn’t appear to be too stressed about it, so why should we be when our leaders are not?
Here is why:
Water on earth- The shocking statistic
We get baffled at the idea of a water shortage when we see so much water surrounding us. In fact, a whole 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. The shocking statistic comes in where 97% of that water is salt water, with 3% being freshwater and then 1% being available for life on earth! (Waterwise.co.za)
South Africa on the water-scarcity map:
- South Africa is the 30th-driest country in the word and is classified as semi-arid, to begin with.
- South Africa receives an annual rainfall of 492mm whereas the rest of the earth receives 985mm. We receive nearly half the earth’s average rainfall (waterwise.co.za)
- This means that even during a good year our water resources are stretched, so naturally when a drought comes along, our water system goes into
- South Africans use water as if we live in a water-rich country. Despite our low rainfall, our water use has grown at a faster pace than our infrastructure. (Kings, 2016)
Where does our water go to?
- Data shows that 35% of water is lost from leaks, or from people using water and not paying. (The Water Research Commission)
- In the Western Cape, thousands of homes have their own pools, with another 39 public swimming pools in the province. The water requirements mean that we could find ourselves without sufficient water for basic human needs while swimming pools are maintained instead.
- Golf courses. The lawns are pristinely green all year around as these golf course housing estates in South Africa have attracted significant investment from private investors. When international investors live abroad or travel why do they need to worry about our crisis? (The Huffington Post, 2017)
Don’t forget about climate change!
- If it rains, we will be okay for now.
- But future climate change means this type of national water crisis will be normal. Government models show that most of the country will get more dry. The Karoo will stretch towards Johannesburg. The cold fronts that feed Cape Town’s winter rainfall will recede further south and miss landfall.
What can WE do?
It’s not all hopeless, the first step is acceptance, accepting that these are cold hard facts.
The second step is to act now.
- We do what we can from home and at work to our best ability.
- We need to check our homes for any water leaks.
- We need to implement water saving measures and educate everyone around us.
At EcoCore, we can help you. Get in touch today to find out how.