Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Use drought to promote long-term water saving

An astute letter in the Weekend Post (South Africa): Both Andrew Muir (“Drought may be part of region’s permanent climate pattern”, The Herald, September 21) and Lee-Anne Butler (“East Cape needs to tighten drought belt”, The Herald, September 22) have written excellent articles that bring the drought issue into the bigger picture of climate change.

…This is also a perfect opportunity to launch a widespread promotion and local production of water harvesting systems that could be subsidised for individual houses. This investment would be critical not only for increasing our water supply, but also and very importantly for bringing back the reality and the value of water that many take for granted.

Disaster funds should not only try to overcome short-term issues such as lack of water. They should also be used for longer term purposes by, for instance, teaching individuals about climate change and peak oil (the time when maximum extraction of oil is reached).

…Individual mobilisation and preparedness are important ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change and peak oil threats. Water demand management and saving should therefore be priorities (before any expensive investment to secure a water supply increase) in order to foster individual understanding, pragmatism and resilience. Reduction of unaccounted for water use, use of prepaid meters and sewage recycling should therefore be entertained before the desalinisation plant is considered….

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