Drought SA: the gateway to managing water scarcity

The South African Water Research Commission has launched a website that teaches people about being water wise. One of the messages is that this includes taking action to solve any water problems, as well as respecting water and all life. You can also work out your water footprint.

Image description Five provinces in South Africa have been declared drought disaster areas, prompting experts to urge people to become water wise and to use water carefully. The message is don’t waste water. (Image: Brand South Africa)

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Melissa Javan

“Your knowledge gateway to managing water scarcity in times of drought” – this is the slogan of the Drought South Africa website, launched recently by the Water Research Commission (WRC).

The WRC, which was established in terms of the Water Research Act following a serious water shortage in 1971, launched the Drought SA site in collaboration with a series of dialogues. The focus of the dialogues will be whether the country is prepared for recurring drought and what its mitigation and coping strategies are. Discussions will include the knowledge gaps in drought preparedness and what the country should do to bridge knowledge and practice.

The site includes tips on how to save water. Users can discover their water footprint, learn how to fix leaks, and equip themselves to be water wise at home. Drought SA also allows users to check dam levels, rainfall data, and water restrictions in each province.

Five provinces have been declared drought disaster areas, according to news agency News24. The drought has affected 2.7 million households in the country, or 18% of South Africa.

Watch everything you need to know about South Africa’s water crisis:

Drought SA

Drought SA is a unique online drought portal, explains the government. It gives users useful information about the current drought and links to various other drought-related websites. It will be an ongoing project and will be continuously populated with fresh research and knowledge that will empower users.

 

Image description This graphic shows where water comes from. (Image: Water Wise)

According to Water Wise, water is freely available from the natural water cycle. However, because water in South Africa is a scarce resource – and often a polluted resource– many systems need to be put into place so that we receive enough clean healthy water, i.e. dams, water transfer schemes, water purification stations, reservoirs, pipelines, et cetera.

Water Wise is Rand Water’s environmental brand. It is a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the need to value water and to use it wisely. Rand Water, the largest water utility in Africa, supplies potable water to Gauteng and other areas of the country.

“These systems cost large amounts of money and this is why we have to pay for water,” says Water Wise. “At the moment you pay between R4 and R16 for 1 000 litres for tap water, which is very cheap compared to your grocery items.

“If we continue to waste and pollute water then that cost will drastically increase. More dams and water transfer schemes will have to be built, and further technology will have to be included in Rand Water’s purification process, or further infrastructure built, to clean polluted water.

“That is why it is so important for people to change their attitude towards water, treat it with respect and use it wisely.”

Learn more about fixing leaking taps, toilets or meters and mains here.

Find out more about water restrictions in your province here.

Learn what your water footprint is here.

For more information on how to save water at your home read more here.