Rand Water, South African Green Industries Council in joint effort to conserve water

15th August 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Rand Water, South African Green Industries Council in joint effort to conserve water

Photo by: Creamer Media

Rand Water and the South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) are undertaking joint – and individual – water conservation efforts to reduce the traditional spike in water use in spring and summer and encourage the responsible and judicious use of water.

The joint alliance aims to promote a reduced use of water to mitigate the seasonal strain on supply, assist with compliance with water-use license allocations and reduce future impact on water reserves in storage dams, especially if a strong El Niño develops as expected.

Water demand usually surges during spring and summer, in part owing to gardeners, landscapers and food producers watering to encourage new plant growth, including lawns, or to start early vegetable production, which places strain on the water reticulation systems for all suppliers.

However, the primary challenge this season will be to encourage and activate a downward turn in the yearly spring water use spike amid a host of challenges, including South Africa’s growing population and their wide range of water use in daily activities, the impact of anthropogenic development on climate change and seasonal climate variations brought about by El Niño and La Niño.

“The need to use water responsibly and conserve water is essential in a world where scientists are predicting more erratic rainfall and drier seasons. Furthermore, climate models forecast the number of dangerously hot weather days will double over half of the country,” the parties said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This suggests that South Africa on average will be hotter and drier, thereby placing strain on the country’s already perilous freshwater resources, and impacting negatively on livestock, agriculture, human health and biodiversity.”

Water conservation is an important element of water supply planning and necessitates the responsible use of water, using water-wise efficiency improvement mechanisms, the parties highlighted.

For nearly three decades, Rand Water’s Water Wise team has worked with SAGIC and its alliance partners to produce environmentally responsible, water-wise marketing materials, with numerous campaigns and a range of educational material produced both individually and jointly.

The success of these have been difficult to measure when linked to specific water use reduction, although the Water Wise brand is now commonly used across green industry websites and in a range of online social media.

“It is also evident that SAGIC members have implemented many changes within their individual membership requirements to encourage water-wise practices among their membership. The benefits have, in turn, been passed on to South African consumers,” the parties said in the joint statement.

However, there remains much to be done to reduce the existing water use curve in spring and early summer.

SAGIC members, such as the South African Nursery Association have launched a host of ‘water warrior’ initiatives which will be rolled out across the 2023/24 spring and summer season, while Rand Water, through its Water Wise team, remains committed to continue with research, developing and producing new relevant and innovative information for both green industry businesses and end-users.

It is also hoped that the public and private sectors will be influenced to find new and innovative ways to reduce water use and use water responsibly this season, while still maintaining their businesses, gardens, parks and landscapes to a high standard.

Engagements between Rand Water, SAGIC and the South African Local Government Association will continue to encourage water-wise education, job-friendly irrigation times in municipal bylaws and responsible wording when organs of State require reduced water use.