The Covid-19 pandemic is placing significant strain on South Africa’s water resources, as the first-line of defence against the unabated spread – washing of hands thoroughly – is sending some five litres of water flows from a household tap down the drain.
The entire South African – and world – population is encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap or disinfectant medium, for no less than twenty to sixty seconds, said Southern Cape Landowners Initiative chairperson Cobus Meiring.
“Consider the impact on our water resources when, on average [and] dependent on water pressure and other factors, about five litres of water from a household tap [is used] in sixty seconds, then we are talking about a staggering amount of water 50-million South Africans will be using in preventing them from contracting the rampant pandemic,” he explained.
However, a significant proportion of the population still lack access to enough water for cooking purposes, and simply do not have access to the suggested amounts of water required to regularly cleanse their hands.
In this way, Covid-19, and its disastrous effect on the local and world economy, is highlighting the need to seriously start managing and protecting the critically threatened water resources to ensure short- to medium-term survival.
Combined with the irreversible impact of climate change on the way citizens live and survive, the crisis should serve as a “major wake-up call” to the steady decline of the natural resource and the way water resources are depleted, wasted and contaminated and water supply infrastructure destroyed owing to environmental mismanagement, negligence and lack of planning, he elaborated.
“Had the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Western Cape as Day Zero approached in 2017, the population would have been in a real mess,” Meiring commented.
“Forget for a moment about over-subsidising once-proud airlines, free education [and] free health care, and consider what our position would be if all our rivers, streams, aquifers, wetlands and catchments were unpolluted, clean, clear of invasive plants, well-managed and optimally used,” Meiring concluded.