Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Q&A: Water meters are good for the environment and good for wallets

Inter-Press Service interviews the Julian Rodkin, Capetown's District Manager for Water and Sanitation about a South African city's experiences with water shortages. As the interview notes, water shortages are a chronic threat: "One of the main causes is population growth, which has led to an increased demand for water. It is estimated that 16,000 families from elsewhere in South Africa migrate to the Cape every year. To better regulate water demand and distribution, city authorities have launched a new water management system. This system revolves around special devices that are to be installed in homes across the city."

A simple measure, but the effect has been marked, according to this municipal official. People are sparing with water, and take care to avoid waste far more than before. The meters also have devices to shut down automatically if left on by accident, and also when they are tampered with. As a result, water levels at reservoirs and dams has been rising, which means that Capetown has been able to avoid water rationing methods. Residents of the parched American southwest and southeast, take note.

Photo of a water meter by Andre Karwath, or Aka (from Wikimedia Commons)

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