South Africa is a water scarce country and as such requires a comprehensive water management system to ensure that we make the most of what we have by effectively monitoring and managing our freshwater resources and wetlands.
As cities in South Africa grow, there is an ever-increasing demand for clean, potable and affordable water from residents and industries alike. In addition, increasing urbanisation and industrial practices affect the quality of the already limited water resources.
As cities in South Africa grow, there is an ever-increasing demand for clean, potable and affordable water from residents and industries alike. In addition, increasing urbanisation and the growth of informal settlements in South African cities are resulting in increasing levels of pollution and bacteria caused by human effluent in our water resources. This is further compounded by various industry groups such as mines that pump chemically contaminated waste water into our water system.
South African cities can play their part by ensuring that we make optimum use of our water resources in a number of ways:
Providing adequate sanitation
Properly cleaning contaminated water before releasing it back into the water system
Encouraging water recycling and water reduction amongst residents
Promoting water conservation and proper management of dams
Reducing water losses by maintaining water distribution networks
An excellent example of good water management was shown by the City of Cape Town during their water crisis in 2017-2018 when dam levels dropped to just 11% of their capacity and Cape Town faced the very real risk of being the first city in the world to completely run out of water.
By implementing major water restrictions, the City of Cape Town managed to reduce its daily water usage by more than 50%, a water saving of about 500 million litres per day. These significant water savings, combined with good rains in June 2018, meant that the dam levels gradually rose again and by September 2018 the dams levels had returned to 70% of their capacity.