Until recently, very few people and businesses have realised how deep our trouble is with regards to water demand and supply in South Africa, and globally. With our ongoing energy crisis and the impact it has on everything, water too, has received more attention lately.
It is important to know that water is in trouble, and it has been for a long time. The water challenge we face is not a future, a temporary or short-term issue. It’s not going away either. In fact, it is getting bigger – unless we fundamentally change the way we interact with water and drastically increase our perceived value of water.
While there has always been a strong focus on water supply, not enough emphasis has been placed on the effectiveness of dealing with our water challenge by starting with demand. We believe the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way to approach our current water situation, and turn scarcity into surplus, is to focus on demand as a first step. If we can reduce demand, we can reduce our supply deficit.
The challenge is, we have become complacent. We are accustomed to the relatively low cost and availability of water. We continue to operate under assumptions that have long since been applicable and we are misled by the abundance of rain and full dams in some parts of South Africa.
Water scarcity is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive approach involving the cooperation of all stakeholders. Using water efficiently requires a cultural change supported by technical solutions. And we have the solutions.
We also have the people. Many companies, projects, communities, and individuals are consistently putting in the effort resulting in incredible water savings.
To build a culture of relentless water warriors, it is important to showcase results and cheer each other on. To quote Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually we are one drop but together, we are an ocean.” When we see what our partners in water are achieving, we can continue to create our own ripples, knowing that our combined effort is making a wave.
Join us in celebrating the Water Action Results of three inspiring partners in water:
Vodacom Bulls has been making significant efforts to conserve water. Reducing water usage by 46% since 2019 and saved over 100 million litres of water. This equates to filling the pitch from try line to try line and to the top of the goal posts.
By focusing on efficiency, Emira Property Fund has seen a 47% drop in water consumption and saved over 552 677 kilolitres of water in the past 71 months.
In only 27 months of action and across 51 schools, ADvTECH has implemented efficiency, training and monitoring resulting in combined water savings of 429 053+ kiloliters.
Water conservation is crucial to ensure the sustainability of our planet and the well-being of future generations. The efforts of these three companies demonstrate that it is possible to reduce water usage and promote sustainable water management practices across various sectors. It is time for all of us to recognise the value of water and work together to protect and conserve it for the present and the future.
Remember to celebrate achievements, learn from each other, and find inspiration in every effort and every drop saved. Changing our water-behaviour and water-attitude in 2023 cannot only be a comment on a water conservation post or a good intention, it needs to be an ongoing, persistent action. South Africa is already doing it and our combined action is what is making the difference that our water needs. Here’s to the next 100 million, here’s to a culture of water stewardship.
As featured in Water & Sanitation March/April