Global warming and climate change are a global reality that impact parts of the planet differently – one such impact is water scarcity, which is a global phenomenon.
Every inhabited continent faces water stress, in one way or another, and extreme droughts having been seen in Australia, California and even India recently. No matter where you travel in the world, water is a resource that should be used responsibly and, in South Africa, we are leading the way in showing how tourists can #savelikealocal.
Reports of drought in South Africa are being covered widely by international media. This off the back of last year’s Day Zero threat in Cape Town, where the city braced itself to become the first major city in the world whose taps had run dry.
In a herculean effort, Cape Town managed to stave off this dark day and the drought. Good winter rainfall in 2020 has restored Cape Town’s dams to over 80%, while dams across the Western Cape province are at above 65%.
While the Day Zero messaging was incredibly damaging for inbound tourism, it was successful in changing the mindset of Capetonian residents who are mindful about their water usage to ensure that this precious resource is used responsibly.
The City of Cape Town updates its water dashboard continuously. Water restrictions are still in effect, but these are largely pertaining to the use of water for gardening and landscaping, washing of vehicles and water features. As such, there is no impact on tourists who travel to the city.
Cape Town’s tourism facilities have been innovative in their commitment to saving water and introduced water-saving measures to do their part without compromising at all on the comfort of their guests, such as including the option of hand sanitisers in bathrooms, using greywater for toilet flushes and removing bath plugs from hotel rooms unless specifically requested to retain these.
The city that stared down Day Zero has learnt not to take water for granted. No matter where you travel in the world, we would ask you to do the same and are grateful to all those visitors who use water wisely and #savelikelocals.
Drought in South Africa
Severe drought in South Africa has extended to the Eastern Cape, with Limpopo and the North West provinces also reporting their dams less than half full and drought conditions reported in parts of the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) confirms that hot temperatures are likely to continue until the end of summer, but that there will be no El Niño event.
The rainfall forecast for early-summer (Nov-Dec-Jan) from the SAWS seasonal prediction system indicates enhanced probabilities of below-normal rainfall over the far eastern parts of the country, whilst above-normal rainfall is predicted to be more likely for the western to central parts.
Towards mid-summer (Dec-Jan-Feb), predictions indicate an increased likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions.
For the late-summer period (Jan-Feb-Mar), higher probabilities of below-normal rainfall are predicted to persist and to expand to other parts of the country.
One of the 30 driest countries in the world, South Africa should employ water-saving and conservation strategies as a standard to sustain our limited water resources.
The current heatwave is causing enormous evaporation of water from the country’s dams which is having an adverse impact on the country’s water security.
To counter this, the Department of Water and Sanitation is embarking on awareness drives to educate water users to reduce water usage and save as much water as possible.
These short- to long-term interventions take on a four-pronged approach which includes desalination, groundwater optimisation, water conservation and demand management and re-use optimisation.
In addition, water restrictions are being implemented by various municipalities across the country to ensure that there is reduced water consumption and that taps do not run dry. For those areas that are in distress, residents are dependent on tinkered water and groundwater.
These areas are largely not areas frequented by tourists and as such tourists will feel little to no impact when travelling around South Africa.
Climate change and the impact thereof on the world’s water resources is a global issue. The recent drought experienced in Cape Town and the Western Cape has inspired local residents and the business community to adopt a more responsible approach to water usage, despite the increased dam levels.
We appeal to all visitors to use water sparingly and respect the fact that South Africa does not have abundant water resources that can be wasted.
Being conscious of our water usage and limiting wastage has become our default approach to managing this precious resource. Let is become yours too.
Play your part and join us in our efforts to manage our water resources responsibly while enjoying a memorable holiday or business trip to South Africa. Download this handy infographic for an easy reference, and remember you too can #savelikealocal and make a real difference.
#Savelikealocal Water-Saving Tips
Play your part in the responsible use of water by employing these 10 easy water-saving tips:
- Don’t bath, shower
- Keep showers short
- Don’t leave taps running
- Carry hand sanitiser
- Report any running toilets
- Don’t fill the kettle
- Don’t throw trash in the toilet
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily
- Re-use the melted ice in ice buckets
- Don’t order a jug of water unless you’re going to drink it all