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Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Campaign encourages rainwater harvesting

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 17 September 2010

The past week residents around Hartbeespoort Dam had another taste, as so often in the past, of a water dearth with reservoirs running at under ten per cent of their capacity. In some suburbs taps ran completely dry for a number of days while others still have no water.

Hartbeespoort Dam receives effluent from the Pta/Wits urban industrial complex. Photo by Michael McCloskey

A lot has been said and written in the past about the reasons for the water shortage – lack of capacity, lack of planning, lack of maintenance, lack of rain, etc., etc. The fact of the matter is that we are, nationally and regionally, running out of water. Dr Anthony Turton, then a research fellow at the CSIR, pointed out in 2008, in the famous address the CSIR tried to stop, that South Africa’s average rainfall was only about half that of the global average – 497mm per year against the world average of 860mm per year. In addition, 98% of the country’s water resources have already been allocated by 1998, meaning that there is no dilution capacity left.

Also, unlike other countries where cities were developed round lakes or near rivers or the seashore, southern Africa’s major urban developments took place on or near watershed divides. This is particularly relevant in the case of Hartbeespoort Dam which has to content with the effluent of the sprawling Pretoria/ Witwatersrand urban industrial complex. As a water poor country the levels of pollution that South Africa has to cope with are unique in the world.

A campaign to encourage residents to harvest rainwater is to be launched on the tenth of next month. It is one of the activities planned as part as the Global Environmental Action Day against Climate Change. Thea Holm, who is organising the event in Hartbeespoort and Brits, says the 10/10/10 Global Action Day will entail 1 700 events in 140 countries around the world. Continue reading Campaign encourages rainwater harvesting