Cape Town - #SaveWater Ambassadors have called for increased saving of water following an announcement that there is unlikely to be “Day Zero” this year.
“We don’t want Capetonians especially to now sit back and think we’re out of the woods now. We are not!
“If anything, we have to increase the saving of water and focus on bringing down usage even further,” said Chief #SaveWater Ambassador, Yusuf Abramjee.
"The drought is serious and the fact that the taps may not be closed does not mean we can get back to our old habits of wasting water."
Abramjee said educational campaigns and activations will continue and will also be extended to other parts of the country.
Ahead of World Water Day on Thursday, 22 March, a number of events are being planned by the Department of Water and Sanitation, Operation SA, Miss Earth SA and partners like the Cape Argus.
“We will also focus on other provinces including Limpopo. We want every South African to embrace saving water because #EveryDropCounts,” he added.
Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said: “We salute everyone who is saving water. Thank you for making a difference. We need to all continue to increase our savings.
“We have a lot of work that still lies ahead. We call on civil society, business, the agricultural sector, NGO’s and the media to all work together,” said Ratau.
International Climate Activist and Co-Chief #SaveWater Ambassador, Catherine Constantindes, said: “We all have a responsibility to ensure that we play our part and save water.
“It's the basic principles of sustainability that need to be a fundamental foundation of how we operate; this must be the new business as usual. We continue to advocate to #SaveWater and remember that we are a water stressed country and #EveryDropCounts.
“Through the Miss Earth South Africa programme, we hope to continue #InspiringWaterHeroes across our nation as we remember that water is life,” Constantinides said.
Teams recently visited 100 schools in and around Cape Town and engaged tens of thousands of learners.
Linda Magapatona-Sangaret, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand South Africa said: “The water scarcity should be the business of all citizens and not just Capetonians.
“If we all make efforts in reducing water usage and wastage, the challenge can be managed along with innovation. South Africans must learn to save this vital resource to ensure that other parts of the country don’t have to deal with a ‘Day Zero’ situation in future.
“We must take lessons from what has happened. We salute the efforts of the #SaveWater campaign and all other initiatives to get citizens to understand, act and prevent a catastrophic situation,” said Magapatona-Sangaret.
Lerato Dumisa, Sunlight 2in1 Assistant Brand Manager said: “Finding a way to use a limited resource when you are accustomed to using a lot of water in your home is not easy for anyone. Yes, saving water is now a reality that we and our children have to work towards as we work together to create a #WaterSmartNation. Let us continue to do our part and be responsible citizens, ensuring we have access to water tomorrow.”
Aden Thomas, Breakfast Show Host at Heart FM said: “We must change our relationship with water and continue to treat it as the scarce resource that it is.”
Operation SA activist and #SaveWater Ambassador, Yaseen Theba, said: “Its not enough to just defeat ‘DayZero’. Every South African has to change their mindset now so that over time, apart from just saving water, we can build up sustainable alternatives to deal with global water challenges.”
#SaveWater Ambassador, Lance Witten, who is also the live editor at the Cape Argus said: “Even though Cape Town's residents have done exceptionally well to avert a real humanitarian crisis by saving water and drastically reducing their water consumption, the fact that we may have staved off a ‘Day Zero’ scenario cannot lull us into a false sense of security.
“The reality is that we all have to come to terms that we live in a water-scarce environment, despite being surrounded by the sea. We can no longer rely on our wet winters to save us. For too long, we have been wasteful in our behaviour, therefore, while we celebrate the shift in mindset that led to ‘Day Zero’ possibly being averted in 2018, we need to remain mindful that continued water savings are needed.
“We need to inculcate #SaveWater in every resident, so that we change our entire water culture from one of gratuitous water usage and wastage, to a mindset of conservation and frugality. #EveryDropCounts - this is a message we must never forget,” Witten said.
Bridgetti Lim Banda, social entrepreneur and founder of the Facebook Page Cape Town Water Crisis said: “Our dams are not less empty and whilst acknowledging the phenomenal hard work and savings of most Capetonians we need to continue encouraging each other to save water in view of the uncertainty of the amount of rain we may get this winter.”
Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Moulana Abdul Khalik Ebrahim Alli, said: "We salute all the activists and the ambassadors and our local civic organizations for their sterling work in highlighting the great blessing and the valuable resource that water is to our community.
“It is this collective effort that’s brought about greater awareness to the community, to the students at schools and to all politicians and everyone in the Western Cape that brought about the shift of wasting water to preserving water,” Moulana Alli said.
He said the call to #SaveWater will continue.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: "Residents, businesses, visitors and farmers are helping to build a destination that is a world-leader in climate change resilience. According to our research, Cape Town has reduced its water consumption by nearly 57%. It took Melbourne, in comparison, 12 years to achieve the same percentage reduction. We cannot let our foot off the pedal now. We must work as hard as possible to continue this water saving effort, so that we set a new global standard that the rest of the world will look to follow. If we continue on this successful path, we will build a truly resilient city that will be even more attractive to live, play, work, visit and invest in."
Michelle Bagley from the Amy Foundation also appealed to South Africans to continue water saving efforts. She said the “various partnerships and collaborations showed what can be achieved when we work together”.
Abramjee called on municipalities across the country to introduce #SaveWater campaigns.
“The City of Johannesburg is one of the few that has started awareness drives. We appeal to others to do the same with urgency and mobilize,” he said.