Water is our most valuable resource. There is no substitute for it. Up until now, most people, including the government, have perceived problems related to the drought as ‘imminent’, ‘impending’ and ‘looming’. The fact is that it is here, NOW, and if we do not start treating the water shortage as the crisis that it is, this crisis will become a catastrophe.
The water crisis in this province is related to 4 factors:
- Drought / Water Scarcity.
- The State of Infrastructure, which is either failing, has totally collapsed or is incomplete.
- A lack of innovative and appropriate technology that is affordable, to alleviate the situation.
- Contamination of existing/remaining water sources.
This crisis of water availability and security is further exacerbated by:
- Not planning effectively for the effects of the drought.
- Not acting soon enough.
The Eastern Cape is in need of a Water Security Master Plan. This master plan must include short, medium and long-term strategies for water security to EC towns and cities. It must be categorised according to causes of water shortages, namely drought/water scarcity, infrastructure collapse, incomplete infrastructure projects or a combination of these factors.
The Water Security Master Plan should include innovative and locally appropriate strategies and alternatives to ensure access to water, such as:
- Portable Water Purification Units.
- Extraction of Water from the Atmosphere, as done in Kenya.
- Water Recycling Solutions.
- Rainwater harvesting.
- Incentive Schemes for Household Water Recycling Units such as the Hydraloop, which is used in the Netherlands.
- Incentives for the business and manufacturing sector to re-use and recycle water.
- Government regulations must be put in place to support and incentivise these innovations.
We HAVE to undergo a paradigm shift in acknowledging the water crisis – this means that we cannot continue using water or thinking about water in the same way we did 7 years ago before 2015, in the same way we did a year ago, or same way we did yesterday. The Crisis is HERE NOW.