Take responsibility for saving water

Part of the reason why the City of Cape Town avoided its so-called Day Zero was a heightened sense of social activism and extraordinary measures adopted by businesses and ordinary folk to save every drop of water possible. Nelson Mandela Bay is arguably in a much worse drought situation than Cape Town.

Yet, there seems to be minimal social awareness of what is a very real crisis in front of us. This week we reported that the capacity of our supply dam levels had dropped below 20%. Our farmers are jittery and rightly so. The weatherman says this year has been the second driest since 1960.

As a result, yesterday the metro announced even more stringent water restrictions, which if not adhered to, could plunge us into mayhem. These include restricting household consumption to 15kl per metered connection and a ban on the use of hose pipes, unless the water used is not sourced from the municipality.

All residents are restricted to no more than 50l per person per day.

Car washes would be shut down by the city if they did not recycle at least 60% of the water, the metro said.

There is no doubt that the restrictions will have a farreaching impact on businesses dependant on water to operate. Economically, the consequences may be dire.

For the rest of us, the new restrictions should serve as a warning to take seriously the call to save every drop.

We must promote a social drive to take responsibility for our own usage as communities and individuals, and to hold each other accountable.

Equally important, the municipality must increase its efforts to deal with water leaks, speedily and efficiently.

Failure to do so does not only exacerbate our losses, thus depleting our dams, it makes a mockery of the city’s proclaimed efforts to save water.

This week should mark a turning point in social behaviour. It’s time to have all hands on deck.