Specialising in
Grey Water
and
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Farming places water security at risk

There is not enough fresh water in South Africa to go around, and experts say water availability is the most important factor limiting agricultural production — yet farmers are often their own worst enemies when it comes to water management.

South Africa’s water problems are exacerbated by small farm dams with high surface area to volume ratios.

South Africa’s water problems are exacerbated by small farm dams with high surface area to volume ratios.

It is projected that South Africa could run out of water by 2025 — and in Gauteng, Africa and South Africa’s economic hub, by as early as 2015. More than 95% of the country’s available fresh water was already allocated by 2005.

“We’ve had a huge scare with electricity prices, but I think water is also unreasonably priced (too low),” says Jeanne Nel, a biodiversity and ecosystems services scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

While farmers are not solely to blame, agriculture is allocated the largest portion of South Africa’s available fresh water, with about 63% going to irrigation. This is sobering when it is considered that only 12% of South Africa’s landmass is considered arable and only 3% “truly fertile”. Only 1.5% of the land is under irrigation, producing 30% of the country’s crops.

“In the face of the far more obvious negative impacts that mining and industrial use and pollution have (on the environment), farmers often get away with a lot,” says Dr Nel. “Farming’s effects are a lot more insidious. If you keep drawing up water all the time, that does not create a big change all at once, but it can create a huge problem. We do need to put it into context — there are good and bad mining practices just as there are good and bad farming practices.” Continue reading Farming places water security at risk

We need to transform the way water is used

There is no food security without water security

Drought in some parts of the world has hurt global grain production and contributed to food price spikes virtually every other year since 2007, highlighting the need to transform the way water is used – and wasted – throughout the entire food chain.

This is one of the key messages that the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (“FAO”) is transmitting this week at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. The annual event brings policy makers and experts from around the globe together to discuss pressing issues related to water and its management.

In a speech made today at the Week’s opening ceremony, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed that “there is no food security without water security,” noting that FAO’s recent report, The State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture, warns that water scarcity and pollution are posing a growing risk to key food production systems around the world.

“Agriculture, as we practice it today, is one of the causes of this phenomenon, as it represents 70% of all freshwater uses,” said Graziano da Silva.

But, he also noted, the food production sector also offers tremendous potential for changing how the world uses water. Continue reading We need to transform the way water is used

Water is critical to creating a better future

Source: FAO

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that producing enough food to feed the world’s rapidly growing population will require the international community to ensure the sustainable use of the world’s “most critical finite resource,” water.

1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted each year

“Unless we increase our capacity to use water wisely in agriculture, we will fail to end hunger and we will open the door to a range of other ills, including drought, famine and political instability,” warned Ban in a statement read at the start of World Water Day 2012 ceremonies taking place at FAO.

In many parts of the world, water scarcity is increasing and rates of growth in agricultural production have been slowing, he noted. At the same time, climate change is exacerbating risk and unpredictability for farmers, “especially for poor farmers in low-income countries who are the most vulnerable and the least able to adapt,” he said.

Guaranteeing sustainable food and water security for all will require transferring appropriate water technologies, empowering small food producers and conserving essential ecosystem services, the UN chief said. He also called for policies that promote water rights for all, stronger regulatory capacity and gender equality.

“Water will play a central role in creating the future we want,” concluded Ban. “At the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit, the international community will need to connect the dots between water security and food and nutrition security in the context of a green economy.” Continue reading Water is critical to creating a better future

Strict water saving measures urged in food industry

Key players in South Africa’s food industry have been urged to implement strict water saving measures to address the country’s impending water deficit that is threatening food security and produce.

Water recycling

The appeal comes from Gareth Lloyd-Jones, managing director of Ecowize – the hygiene and sanitation company servicing the food sector.

In a report compiled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) last year, it was said that there have been repeated warnings that SA faces a water supply crisis. Furthermore the report stated that SA’s freshwater resources will be fully depleted by 2030 and unable to meet the needs of people, industry and its neighbours if people continue to exploit their water resources by following a “business as usual” approach.

“This report highlights the critical need for food producers and manufacturers to realise the magnitude of this crisis and take responsibility and make concerted efforts to prevent water wastage often caused by, pipe bursts and water leaks and unscheduled use of water,” said Lloyd-Jones. Continue reading Strict water saving measures urged in food industry

Increased pressures on water could make it less available

By A.D.McKenzie
Source: IPS

As non-governmental organisations question the relevance of the World Water Forum being held here this week and slam its “corporate” nature, the United Nations says that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical.

Sub-Saharan Africa could experience severe freshwater scarcity by 2020

The fourth edition of the triennial World Water Development Report (WWDR), which brings together the work of 28 U.N.-Water members and partners is being officially launched Monday at the Forum. It stresses that water “underpins all aspects of development” and needs to be a key element in global policies and regulations.

Titled ‘Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk’, the comprehensive report paints a somber picture of what could result from failure to deal with water issues. Experts warn of increased political conflicts over resources, the endangering of future availability and reduction in economic and social welfare.

“We want to be optimistic but there are increased pressures on water that could make it less available for normal consumption, and that’s the bleak picture,” said Dr. Olcay Ünver, coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme which produced the report.

“The other side is that there’s a lot that leaders of government and civil society can do, especially by working together to ensure sustainability,” he told IPS.

The stakes are high as more than one billion people lack access to safe water, and about 1.4 billion lack access to electricity (which can be generated through hydropower). With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, demand for water will surge over the next decades, experts say. Continue reading Increased pressures on water could make it less available