Learn how you can save more wa­ter this sum­mer


Style Magazine - - Contents -

When gov­ern­ments keep their cit­i­zens in­formed, great things can hap­pen

Ev­ery year the topic of wa­ter scarcity be­comes more press­ing, with an es­ti­mated one–in–three peo­ple liv­ing in coun­tries fac­ing a chronic na­tion­wide wa­ter cri­sis.

What this statis­tic fails to show, how­ever, is the num­ber of peo­ple fac­ing wa­ter re­stric­tions in dry, heav­ily pop­u­lated re­gions de­spite not un­der­go­ing a wa­ter cri­sis na­tion­ally. One such coun­try, is Aus­tralia. Large parts of Aus­tralia reg­u­larly suf­fer from se­vere drought, de­spite Aus­tralia not be­ing a wa­ter–poor coun­try.

The re­cent drought is not the first time Aus­tralia has had to en­dure wa­ter scarcity and, although it will not be the last time, Aus­tralians have fan­tas­tic ways of tack­ling wa­ter short­ages.

These self–taught lessons, cou­pled with lessons learned through analysing wa­ter–poor coun­tries, can make all the dif­fer­ence come the next drought.

Dur­ing its worst drought in liv­ing mem­ory, when wa­ter lev­els dropped to an all–time low of 26 per cent, Mel­bourne in­stalled elec­tronic bill­boards along high­ways to dis­play cur­rent reser­voir lev­els, which cre­ated a sense of ur­gency in the com­mu­nity.

A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion arose in Cape Town, South Africa, re­cently, when lim­ited wa­ter stor­age ca­pac­ity, cou­pled with a se­vere and pro­longed drought af­fect­ing the ma­jor­ity of the coun­try, proved near–fa­tal to the Mother City.

The lo­cal govern­ment im­posed strict wa­ter re­stric­tions and broad­cast a dooms­day count­down to ‘Day Zero’ (the day the city would run out of wa­ter).

Res­i­dents re­sponded swiftly, lead­ing to Day Zero be­ing pushed back to July 2019 or (pos­si­bly) in­def­i­nitely.

Although the wa­ter cri­sis is far from over for its res­i­dents, Cape Town (like Mel­bourne) stands as tes­ta­ment to what can be ac­com­plished when gov­er­ments keep cit­i­zens in­formed.

Other meth­ods im­ple­mented by wa­ter–poor coun­tries, in­clude Jor­dan’s tem­po­rary elim­i­na­tion of im­port tar­iffs on its most wa­ter–in­ten­sive crops, like ba­nanas, with the goal to re­duce the amount of fresh wa­ter con­sumed by agri­cul­ture.

Namibia, home to the Namib Desert (which fetches around 10 mil­lime­tres of rain an­nu­ally), has be­come a world leader in waste­water man­age­ment and its cit­i­zens have been drink­ing re­cy­cled wa­ter since the ‘60s.

There is no one–size–fits–all so­lu­tion, but tak­ing a leaf from our own and other books, will make plan­ning for the fu­ture eas­ier.

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