As leaders in sustainability, the World Wide Fund for Nature SA (WWF-SA) and Sanlam have spearheaded an initiative which aims to educate the South African public on what they can do to help conserve water. To reconnect urban water users with the ultimate source of water – healthy catchments areas, a custom-made Journey of Water educational installation is being taken to key locations around the country with its next stop being Sandton City Mall from 7 – 20 July.
Francois Adriaan, head of Group Corporate Affairs says that, “People take tap water for granted. Most people don’t understand the long and difficult journey water takes to get to their homes. As Wealthsmiths™ we have an appreciation of scarce resources which is why part of our long-term focus through our seven year partnership with the WWF is to continue to raise awareness about the importance of water, by reconnecting urban water users with the ultimate source of water.“
For the first Journey of Water activation at King Shaka International Airport, passersby were encouraged to interact with the installation to experience the “journey of water” and see how their entire economy is dependent on living landscapes as well as to see how and why the natural environment is the key of the journey of water. Personnel were on hand to explain the installation and invite people to visit the Journey of Water website and social media platforms.
This initiative, together with the website www.journeyofwater.co.za and #journeyofwater supports the ongoing drive to educate the South African public on what they can do to help conserve this previous resource.
The call to secure water for a long term economic and social benefit should not only rise to the top of businesses’ sustainability initiatives, but it should get more attention from everyone who has the privilege to have access to the benefits of water while they still do and are able to do something about it.
Ten ways to save water:
- Be aware of your direct water footprint. Conduct a water audit at home, determine your monthly water use from your municipal bill and set goals to become more water efficient. Monitor your use and keep track of your progress.
Switch off all water appliances and taps and check your water meter to see if you have a leak. Fix leaks at home and report public water leaks to your local municipality. An estimated 37% of water is lost from leaks in urban supply systems and last year, water leaks costs South Africa about R7.2 billion.
Make your garden water-wise by planting indigenous drought-resistant plants which require minimal watering. Additionally, only water your garden very early in the morning or after sunset to reduce unnecessary evaporation.
Capture rain water from gutters to use in your garden and invest in a rain water tank. Using rain water minimizes the losses from piped systems and this is untreated so has a lower carbon-footprint.
Install a grey-water system and recycle water at home. Generally, 40-60% of household water is used for non-essential purposes, such as watering gardens and filling swimming pools.
South Africa has good quality tap water which we can drink. Tap water uses less energy and water than bottled water, and bottled water uses less than cool drinks. Quench your thirst first from the tap. For more info on the quality of water in your town, visit www.dwa.gov.za/bluedrop.
Do not pour toxic paint, solvents, chemicals, poisons or pesticides into storm-water, sewer drains or normal rubbish. Find out where your nearest hazardous waste site is and dispose of polluting substances responsibly.
Identify and remove invasive alien vegetation from your garden and local wetland. Protect and keep your local freshwater ecosystems pollution-free. If you see someone polluting water call the Blue Scorpions on 0800 200 200.
Be water wise and purchase water-efficient devices and water-saving appliances. Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher and washing machine to save water and energy.
Cut down your food waste. We consume most water indirectly through the food we eat and things we buy. E.g. to produce one kilogram of beef requires 15 4000 litres of water. A glass of beer requires 300 litres of water, a litre of milk 1000 litres and a pair of jeans 11 000 litres. See www.waterfootprint.org.