Bulk water supplier Rand Water, the Gauteng Provincial Government and City of Johannesburg have jointly launched the #Savewater campaign in a new drive to promote responsible water consumption in the province.
The launch, held at the Zwartkopjes pump station, south of Johannesburg, came in the wake of calls by government leaders – including Cooperative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau – to citizens to reduce their water demand.
In some areas of Johannesburg, up to 46% of water is used for gardening, according to Mayor Tau.
This was again reiterated at the launch of the #Savewater campaign when it was stated that the prevailing dry weather conditions, the results of high temperatures and the lack of rain, were not the only causes of water scarcity in the country.
Careless water consumption by residents also contributed to the problem, officials stated.
The campaign is aimed at educating residents on water consumption and preservation.
Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Jacob Mamabolo said the province’s water supply was “under pressure” owing to population growth and the manner in which water was consumed.
“With this campaign, we should be able to break new ground and change the way we manage water. We have a problem of water in Gauteng; we are a water-scarce province. Rain alone will not solve our problem. We need a radical departure from the lack of knowledge with how we manage our water,” he said.
Mamabolo urged residents to consider buying water storage facilities to harvest rain water for future needs.
“Every household, school, clinic and business must buy a ‘Jojo’ tank and harvest water. The department will also include ‘Jojo’ tanks when we build RDP houses,” he said.
He further urged community development workers, councillors and government officials who would be driving door-to-door campaigns to stress the importance of preserving water.
“Go out and advise communities to minimise water usage and report leakages,” he said.
Rand Water Chairperson Advocate Matshidiso Hashatse said the country’s water loss was estimated at R7-billion, mainly as a result of running water being left unattended.
“This general habit is driving up the demand and Rand Water is experiencing problems in meeting this demand. Population growth and rapid urbanisation also drive up water demand in municipalities,” Advocate Hashatse said.
She said the water level in the Vaal River system, which supplies Gauteng with water, stood at 54%.
Ideally, water reservoirs should be between 60 and 80% full.
“If we change our consumption patterns, water will last long,” Hashatse asserted.
The City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayor Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe, urged communities to report leaking taps and use water sparingly.
“All of us are expected to rally behind and garner support for this campaign,” she said.
Eskom’s Network Planning Manager, Paul Sekgwe, affirmed the power utility’s support for the campaign.
“We’ll ensure there’s power to all plants that provide water,” he said.
Provincial Executive Officer of South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Lucky Leseane urged communities to take responsibility in saving water.
“We support the campaign and we’ll ensure that municipalities take the necessary steps to save and preserve water.”
All government representatives, organisations and stakeholders further signed a pledge in support of the campaign.
#Savewater’s do’s and don’ts:
- Fix leaking taps, toilets and pipes;
- Use a bucket when watering your garden;
- Re-use water for flushing and gardening;
- Take a short shower;
- Plant indigenous trees;
- Report water leaks to your local municipality;
- Collect water from rainfall;
- Do not leave taps running;
- Do not use a hose pipe to wash your car;
- Do not leave taps running when brushing your teeth;
- Do not overfill the bath
- Do not allow growth of weeds as it consumes a lot of water;
- Do not pollute; and
- Do not leave the sprinklers running.