Cape Town – The Western Cape’s average dam level has dropped to under 19%, which is down 7% compared to the same period last year. This as the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) celebrates Water Month, which happens annually during the month of March.
DWS will be engaging in public awareness activities throughout the country, culminating in Water Week from 18-24 March. The intention is to spread the water conservation messages of “Saving water is everyone’s responsibility” and “Every drop counts”.
This year’s national theme is “access to safe water by 2030-possible through nature”, and will include a number of activities starting on 18 March, which coincides with World Water Day on 22 March.
In a statement, DWS noted the challenges of global climate change which are reshaping the way in which people think about their own or their societies place on earth.
“Climate change is the environmental phenomenon which has exacerbated the drought engulfing the country and some parts of the world,” DWS said, adding that it also creates stress on the water sector by affecting the quality of water and further reduces the availability of the already limited resources.
DWS, in collaboration with Operation SA and Miss Earth ahead of World Water Day, will also be hosting a roundtable discussion on the role of “Business in Active Citizenry” on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.
“The dialogue aims to solicit inputs from various stakeholders and particularly business on its active participation in conserving water,” DWS said.
The dialogue is also part of the many initiatives by the #SaveWater Ambassador Programme, which serves as a platform to heighten communications among and between a variety of stakeholders and especially communities to increase efforts to conserve water.
Despite an announcement by the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane, that ‘Day Zero’ has been pushed back until next year, disaster relief measures have begun being implemented across the province upon the declaration that the drought is a national disaster.
Recently, a report by the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), estimated that the impact of the prolonged drought on the Western Cape’s Gross Value Added (GVA) will be R5.9 billion.