South Africa is still recovering from the effects of the 2016 drought. Most of us now have a heightened awareness of the impacts of droughts, floods and toxic algal blooms in our dams, which are predicted to get worse with climate change. Was this drought the wake-up call we needed to get us ready for a new normal?
Water has been in the headlines in South Africa for all the wrong reasons since late 2015. We have been gripped by the drought crisis, joining other regions of the world experiencing low rainfall in a warming world. Having been spared widespread shortages since the early 1990s, we had grown complacent and forgotten our natural claim to water scarcity.
The availability of freshwater is one of the major limiting factors to South Africa’s development. We are a water-scarce country with rainfall distributed unevenly in our landscape, inconveniently away from the centres of mining and industry, and tied to seasonal cycles that drive us repeatedly from feast to famine, between floods and droughts.
Each South African has a different view on what Sustainable Living means to them, to me, living sustainably is a lifestyle that encourages a conscience awareness of how much resources I am using on a daily basis and ways to reduce my footprint so that future generations are able exercise basic human needs such as breath clean air, drink clean water and eat fresh food.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Sanlam WWF water stewardship partnership.
The partnership’s aim is to secure South Africa’s water source areas, promoting water stewardship and empowering local governments to integrate freshwater protection into their policies and plans.