Promoting water-saving attitudes

Framework for Cities Water Management Protocol task team members, from left, are Jessica Fell, Dr Bongani Ncube, Reverend Rachel Nash, Joana Fatch, Professor Jenny Day and Dr Gregg Bill.

Promoting awareness about the value of water and the need to save it is one of the best things a water-scarce city can do to avoid its taps running dry.

This is one of the conclusions reached by more than 130 global experts from 15 countries who met at UWC last week for two days to debate the best water solutions for cities facing water shortage.

The conference was the culmination of two years of work by six teams of experts to develop a strategy for cities around the world to manage their water supplies.

Dubbed the Framework for Cities Water Management Protocol, this strategy will be discussed at the international W12 Congress on water, to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in May.

“If we don’t value water, we could run out in some areas of the world,” said SOS NPO and W12 CEO Rene Frank at the launch of the framework at the One and Only Hotel on Wednesday January 29.

The patron of W12 Congress is environmental crusader and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He will be the keynote speaker at the congress in May, along with Premier Alan Winde, Wesgro CEO Tim Harris and Cape Town mayor Dan Plato.

At the launch, EcoCIV president Philip Clayton said the W12 Congress would bring together city officials, academics, business executives, water experts, and students from the major world cities that were likely to face water challenges in the next 24 to 36 months.

On a question raised about education methodology, Professor Jenny Day, from the Institute for Water Studies at UWC, said Kader Asmal, the former minister of both water affairs and education, had come up with several inexpensive ways to measure water use in schools, including using a bucket and ruler. “It’s important to introduce water saving in schools because children go home with what they have learnt,” said Professor Day.

Dr Bongani Ncube, from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Centre for Water and Sanitation Research, said people should be frequently asked to save water and shown how to do it.

“We can educate people on water usage through the arts – plays, school, theatre, movies – and keep passing the message that water is life,” said Dr Ncube.