Managing rain key to eradicating poverty

Without improved management of rainwater, the future development goals currently being discussed are unrealistic, say leading scientists at World Water Week.

World Water WeekScientists 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. 

Signatories
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

Municipalities must improve water conservation measures

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

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

Water loss costs billions

Gariep dam

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.

– Sapa

Keep Saving Water

The City of Cape Town is encouraging residents to consciously save water every day, with their new ‘Keep Saving Water’ campaign.

Garden Rhapsody. A grey water solution by Water Rhapsody.

Garden Rhapsody. A grey water solution by Water Rhapsody.

As part of this campaign the City suggests the use of Grey Water for garden irrigation as well as making use of Rainwater for not only irrigation but also for flushing toilets, laundry, topping up of pool, etc.

Water Rhapsody has been developing, supplying and installing water saving solutions for the South African consumer since 1994, with thousands of installations nationally.

Everyone needs to be aware that water is a precious resource, and how to use it sparingly.

Saving water is the right thing to do. You can save money, reduce the risk of water restrictions and make a personal contribution to our environment.

Water resources are reeling under increasing pressure

By: Edna Molewa – Minister of water and environmental affairs

The challenge of managing our water resources requires proactive solutions, especially with the reality of climate change on our doorstep. In addition to this grim reality, there is a need to address pressing issues of equity in an environment in which the country’s water resources are reeling under increasing pressure in terms of abstraction, habitat destruction and pollution.

Of our 223 river ecosystem types, 60% are threatened and 25% critically endangered.

This is a complex physical, social and economic matrix and our recently published second edition of the national water resources strategy aims to address it. It sets out the strategic direction for water resources management in South Africa over the next 20 years and has a practical emphasis on what needs to happen in the short term – five years. It provides the framework for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of water resources for South Africa, as well as the framework in which water must be managed at catchment level in defined water-management areas.

The water sector has undergone major change since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and since then we have developed a remarkable body of policy and legislation, which has been acclaimed all over the globe for its progressive and ground-breaking nature.

But we cannot escape the reality that the implementation of the new policy and legislation has been slow, particularly in terms of equity and redress in access to water and sanitation. Although the provision of safe domestic water supplies has reached 95% of the population, showing remarkable strides since 1994, the allocation and reallocation of raw water to historically disadvantaged communities for productive purposes has not progressed as it should. The number of people without adequate services is still too large, particularly among the poor. Continue reading