Without improved management of rainwater, the future development goals currently being discussed are unrealistic, say leading scientists at World Water Week.
Scientists and experts joining the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm are deeply concerned that sustainable management of rainwater in dry and vulnerable regions is missing in the goals and targets proposed by the UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on poverty, hunger and freshwater.
Some of the world’s leading water, environment and resilience scientists and experts have published a call to the United Nations (UN), saying that rain, and the way it is managed, is what will determine whether hunger and poverty can be eradicated in the world.
Unpredictable rainfall a problem
More than two billion people live in some of the driest and poorest areas of the world, also home to the fastest growing populations. These regions depend on highly variable, unreliable and unpredictable rainfall.
When it rains, it pours, making agriculture extremely challenging. However, over time these areas do receive enough rain, and with better methods of using the rainwater, food production could be drastically improved.
Add a target on rainwater management
Attempting to eradicate global poverty and hunger without addressing the productivity of rain “is a serious and unacceptable omission.” The SDGs, as currently proposed, “cannot be achieved without a strong focus on sustainable and resilient management of rainfall for resilient food production,” the scientists say.
The signatories call upon the UN to add a target on rainwater management to any Hunger Goal in the Sustainable Development Goals, which are to be agreed on in 2015.
The signatories of the declaration are:
- Malin Falkenmark, Stockholm International Water Institute, Stockholm Resilience Centre
- Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre
- Torgny Holmgren, Stockholm International Water Institute
- Mohamed Ait Kadi, Global Water Partnership
- Tony Allan, King’s College, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate 2008
- Naty Barak, Netafim, Stockholm Industry Water Award winner 2013
- Jeremy Bird, International Water Management Institute
- Fred Boltz, Rockefeller Foundation
- Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute
- David Grey, University of Oxford
- Jerson Kelman, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
- Roberto Lenton, University of Nebraska
- Julia Marton-Lefévre, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Source: Infrastructure news
Rainwater Harvesting – Observatory, Cape Town
The domestic single residential sanitation tariff remains linked to the water tariff at a rate of 70% of water consumption (70% of 50kl = 35kl). This means that water used for garden irrigation is charged based on 70% of water consumption, even though this water never reaches the waste-water treatment works.
The new tariff is effective from 01 July 2014.
Should you have any queries regarding how to reduce your consumption of water and concomitant sewerage, please give us a call. Water Rhapsody will reduce your consumption by up to 90%, without a change in lifestyle.
Domestic Tariff (single residential)
||Rand per kl
Sanitation Tariff (Standard) (at 70% of water consumption)
||Rand per kl
Other Tariff (excl Vat) per kl
* Sanitation – industrial, commercial and schools: Tariff at 95% of water consumption.
South Africa’s municipalities must address serious water management shortfalls and curb wasted and non-revenue water in their areas, according to the South African Local Government Association (Salga).
We’re losing in the order of R7bn a year through poor water management
The association of municipalities said on Tuesday that it wanted to benchmark demand management and ensure that municipalities, which are at the coalface of service delivery, monitor water use.
At a Department of Water and Environmental Affairs mayors’ dialogue in Johannesburg on Tuesday, mayors and municipal managers from across the country discussed water demand and the management of waste.
Salga acting executive director of municipal infrastructure services William Moraka said municipalities were losing “in the order of R7bn” a year through poor water management. That is equivalent to the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project over 20 years. The project in Lesotho supplies water to Gauteng province. Continue reading Municipalities must improve water conservation measures
Water loss of 1.58 billion k/l per year is enough to fill a third of the Gariep Dam.
South Africa is losing the equivalent of 4.3 million swimming pools of water a year because of leaky pipes and theft, The Sunday Times reported.
According to the newspaper, a Water Research Commission (WRC) study had indicated that South Africa lost 1.58 billion kilolitres of water a year, or just under 132m k/l a month.
This was enough water to fill a third of the Gariep Dam, the largest in South Africa.
The water loss reportedly cost South Africa around R7.2bn a year.
WRC water use and waste management executive manager Jay Bhagwan told the newspaper the problem was caused by ageing infrastructure and the prioritisation of new infrastructure over maintenance.
The council estimated that 15% of water loss was caused by theft.
The Sunday Times quoted water affairs department spokesperson Linda Page as saying the government was concerned about water loss.
“South Africa is a water scarce country. Water losses have been identified as a risk to sustainable water supply into the future, especially at local government level,” she said.
She told the newspaper the maintenance of infrastructure had also been substandard.
Pesticides may kill off water insects and other small aquatic life by as much as 42%, according to an analysis of German, French and Australian rivers and streams published on Monday.
Dragonflies are particularly vulnerable to pesticides
The study in US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to compare regional biodiversity in polluted versus less polluted water, said scientists at the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.
Freshwater invertebrates and aquatic insects were 42% less common in strongly contaminated areas in Europe compared to less polluted areas; and in Australia, a difference of 27% was found across regions.
The analysis included measurements of insecticides and fungicides, which are used often in agriculture and are typically well studied and heavily regulated.
However, the researchers said little examination has been done to gauge their effect on the streams and rivers they end up in after it rains and the chemicals are washed off farmland and into watercourses.
“The current practice of risk assessment is like driving blind on the motorway,” said ecotoxicologist Matthias Liess, a study co-author.
Species that were particularly vulnerable to pesticides included dragonflies, stoneflies, mayflies and caddis flies.
The researchers warned that the threat pesticides pose to biodiversity has been underestimated, since experimental lab work and studies on artificial ecosystems often precede a pesticide’s market approval.
“The effects in Europe were detected at concentrations that current legislation considers environmentally protective,” said the study, calling for new approaches to better assess the ecological risks of pesticides.
A better practice would be to assess the ecological impact of chemicals by investigating real environments on a larger scale, the authors said.
The findings show that UN goals to slow down the decline in biodiversity by 2020 are “jeopardised,” it said.