Editorials 8.1.2018 06:55 am

We need to be more water-conscious

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Water is our most precious resource and even in times of apparent plenty, we should continue to save, not waste, water.

Most of you reading this, if you live in the central regions of this country, will have felt as though your brains were being slowly boiled over the past weekend, as a heatwave laid its crushing weight across large areas.

The fact that, for most of the days of heat, the skies remained blue – or the clouds were quickly evaporated by the scorching sun – was a reminder about how precious rainwater is.

Oven-like conditions would also have added further to the pressure on our dam levels – both through increased evaporation and water usage.

Today, we look in detail at the water crisis in Cape Town, which may lead to it becoming the first major city on the planet to run out of water. That is not an exaggeration: the place which is the biggest tourist attraction in South Africa might have to hand out buckets of water from emergency tankers to residents and visitors.

There are certainly plenty of human factors which have made the drought and consequent water shortage even worse in the Western Cape.

The Cape Town municipality could have moved years ago, when the effects of the rampant population explosion in the city first became evident; the provincial authorities could have done more; and, most critically, national government failed to provide much-needed funds for water projects in time. That was because the department of water affairs and sanitation has mismanaged its budgets over many years.

Whatever the human reasons, the reality which all of us must start learning to live with is that South Africa is an arid, semi-desert country. Water is our most precious resource and even in times of apparent plenty – when the dams in our particular areas are full – we should continue to save, not waste, water.

Outcry over new W Cape water tax

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