Learn how you can save more water this summer
FINDING SOLUTIONS THE WORLD OVER
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.