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

Sea water getting saltier

The water cycle is the worldwide phenomenon of rainwater falling to the surface, evaporating back into the air and falling again as rain.

Fresh water is getting fresher and saltwater saltier

The wetter parts of the world are getting wetter and the drier parts drier. The researchers know this because the saltier parts of the ocean are getting saltier and the fresher parts, fresher.

Records showed that the saltier parts of the ocean increased salinity — or their salt content — by 4 percent in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000. If the climate warms by an additional 2 or 3 degrees, the researchers project that the water cycle will turn over more quickly, intensifying by almost 25 percent.

Reporting in Science magazine, the researchers said the results of the change in climate would affect agriculture and the ability of drier areas to capture and use fresh water from rain, creating serious problems, including droughts and floods. But they had to look offshore to find their data.

“The oceans are really where the action is happening,” said Paul Durack, the lead author.

The study uses 50 years of data — from 1950-2000 — gathered by instruments, some adrift on the ocean currents, some tethered in place. Some of the instruments are tiers of bottles that open at various depths as they are lowered into the sea, and they take measurements as far down as 9,000 feet. Continue reading

Harvest rainwater and use it in the home

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 June 2011

Now that winter is here it’s a good time to install a rainwater tank and reduce your home’s reliance on Cape Town’s precious water.

5000 litre tank used to supply home with harvested rainwater

WHY RAINWATER?

A rainwater tank is a great way to make a difference to the environment and reduce your annual household water and sewerage costs.

It’s always a good time to install a rainwater tank, and now makes good sense given our winter rainfall pattern.

The average rainfall for Cape Town is approximately 600mm per annum. 10mm of rain on 100sqm of roof provides up to 1000 litres of stored water. A 100sqm roof will provide a whopping 60,000 litres a year.

Homeowners have the ability to make a great difference to the local water supply simply by installing a tank and system that will allow for the use of the stored water throughout their home and garden.

CHOOSING A TANK

Contrary to belief you don’t need a big tank to make good use of harvested rainwater for your home.

The size of the tank is calculated using the roof catchment area, type of roof, number of people in the home, etc., and the tank can be as small as 1500 litres. Harvested rainwater is drawn down constantly and replenished at each rainfall. So it makes no sense to have 10000 litres of storage capacity when the roof size and rainfall cannot fill the tanks. Continue reading

By-law requires water compliance certificate before property can be transferred

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 13 April 2011

Cape Town is located in a water scarce region with a high demand and usage during the summer months.

It is not legal to send rainwater via a gully to sewer

“The City’s amended Water By-Law, promulgated on 18 February 2011, provides an opportunity for the City to be pro-active and introduce water conservation and demand management measures to ensure sustainability of the water supply to its consumers,” says the City’s Director for Water and Sanitation, Philemon Mashoko.

All requirements of the Water By-law must be complied with as from the promulgation date.

One of the most important changes to the by-law is that a Certificate of Compliance of water installations must be obtained and submitted to the City upon the transfer of any property to a new owner. This applies to domestic, commercial and industrial properties and includes sectional title units.

A suitably qualified and accredited plumber in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority, must certify that:

  • the hot water cylinder complies with SANS 10252 and 10254
  • the water meter registers
  • there are no water leaks on the property
  • water pipes and terminal fittings are correctly fixed in position
  • no stormwater is discharged into the sewerage system
  • there is no cross connection between the potable supply and any grey water or groundwater system which may be installed

The conveyancer, on behalf of the seller/owner, needs to submit the completed and signed form via e-mail to CertificateOfCompliance@capetown.gov.za. The system will not delay the issuing of rates and taxes clearances by the municipality.

For more information call Danie Klopper on 021 590 1488 or click here and look under the ‘policies, laws and by-laws’ tab to view the amended Water By-laws and Certificate of Compliance document.

Source: City of Cape Town

Scientists to highlight water insecurity

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 February 2011

Demand for water in agriculture and energy production could spike in the coming decades while catastrophic floods and droughts strike more often, a water conference in Canada is to hear this week.

A pair of denim jeans requires up to 6 tons of virtual water

“At unpredictable times, too much water will arrive in some places and too little in others,” said Zafar Adeel, chair of UN Water which coordinates water-related efforts of 28 United Nations organizations and agencies.

Within a generation, water demand in many countries is forecast to exceed supply by an estimated 40 percent.

In other parts of the world prone to flooding, catastrophic floods normally expected once a century could occur every 20 years instead.

Meanwhile, spending on technologies and services to discover, manage, filter, disinfect and desalinate water, improve infrastructure and distribution, mitigate flood damage and reduce water consumption by households, industry and agriculture is expected to rise to a trillion dollars annually by 2020.

Some 300 scientists, policy-makers and economists will release these and other research findings as well as proven new tools, ideas and best practices for optimizing water management at a Canadian Water Network international conference in Ottawa.

The event kicks off on February 28 and runs through March 3. Continue reading