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Water Wise Watch - December 2021

06.12.21

December 2021

This month at Water Wise

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Water Wise would like to wish each and everyone of you a great and safe festive season. As we take this time to unwind and spend a joyful and meaningful time with our families, may we continue to treasure the finite resources such as water that contribute to our day to day lives. The summer season may seem to bring lots of rain, however, this is accompanied by very hot days that tend to result in high water usage within households. With so much heat in summer, people use showers, pools and spend more time in their gardens using water.

As we all know, South Africa is situated in a water scarce region and water resources are being strained by a growing population, ongoing development, pollution, wetland destruction, alien invasive plants, and climate change. The amount of water available for use remains constant, and despite plans to increase storage capacity through new dams or transfer schemes, it is predicted that demand for water in South Africa will outstrip supply by 2025. Gauteng has been dealing with a water shortage since 2013 with the demand growing faster than the rate at which provisions are being made to increase supply. As you make your way on holiday or to visit your families always remember to value and use water wisely.

For more information on various practices to conserve water, click here.

World soil dayWorld Soil Day  is celebrated annually on 5 December as a means to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources and importance of healthy soil. The World Soil Day 2021 campaign theme is  "Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity", which aims to encourage societies to improve soil health and address the growing challenges in soil management, fighting soil salinization, and increasing soil awareness by raising awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. 

Salinization is a process caused by natural processes such as droughts and human activities that leads to increased salts in soil. While saline soils can be beneficial for ecosystems as they enrich them, excessive salts prevent plants from absorbing water in the soil. Ecosystems are threatened by soil degradation processes such as soil salinization and solidification, and these environmental challenges are mostly being recognized  in arid and semi-arid regions.

This month at Water Wise

Johannesburg International Flower Show
As a custodian for water sustainability, the Water Wise team, which is the environmental brand of Rand Water participated in this year's Johannesburg International Flower Show. The JHB International Flower Show is an event that showcases the beauty of plants and gardens alike, and this year it was held at Mall Of Africa. The exhibition started from the 11 - 14 November 2021. The Water Wise team set up an educational garden display to make people aware of hydrozoning in gardens as a water wise practice. Hydrozoning is a process by which plants are planted in different groups or zones based on their watering needs, namely no water use, low water use, medium water use, and high water use.

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SALI Community Project - Tembisa Clean-up
On the 17th November, the Water Wise Team and the South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) attended a community project at Tembisa, which aims to alleviate illegal dumping within the community. In order to provide support to the project that is led by volunteers from the community, SALI assisted with tools and equipment, while Water Wise shared knowledge on the water wise and environmentally-friendly alternative uses of cleared land to prevent recurring illegal dumping.

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Water Wise gardening ideas

Soil improvement that help to save water 

  1. Healthy soil is fertile with plant nutrients, holds enough water and air for plants, and does not compact easily.
  2. Poorly drained soils will hold too much water, drowning the plant.
  3. Salt build up from over fertilization will limit water efficiency by preventing plants from taking up sufficient water.
  4. Over-watering also limits the effective water uptake by plants by causing roots to rot and die.
  5. Watering will differ according to the soil type and needs of the plants.
  6. Clay soils need slow applications of large amounts of water less often, while sandy soils require little amounts more often as they drain more easily.

Here are some tips for improving your soil

  • Avoid creating distinct layers of different types of soil as this will impede water and root penetration.
  • Improve garden soils by adding organic matter - compost, manure or decomposed saw dust.
  • These should be dug into the soil at least to a spade's depth. Organic matter will add nutrients and provide for better water entry and drainage to clay soils or assist in holding moisture in sandy soils.

WW tip of the month

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The year may be ending for many business and organisations, but this is also a great time to start planning for new practices and ideas in the new year. Start the new year off on a Water Wise foot by implementing water wise training and education in your company. Businesses and companies can encourage their employees to conserve water by training employees in water saving techniques in the office (e.g. water recycling and/or the use of greywater). Small actions such as imparting knowledge on water conservation and implementation thereof can result in a significant decrease in water use within a company. 

Businesses can begin by;

  • Education: raising staff awareness is one of the most cost-effective and sustainable ways to save water at the workplace.
  • Practices: Fix leaks - businesses can save money and water by monitoring and repairing leaky taps, toilets and pipes. Leaky or dripping toilets and taps can waste thousands of litres a year. Each dripping tap can waste as much as 1Kl of water a month. Regular maintenance will eliminate such wastage and lower your water bills.

Click here for more information on water saving tips for your business.

Environmental days

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04 December : Wildlife Conservation Day

05 December : World Soil Day
 
11 December : International Mountain Day

Water and environmental news

It’s not a crisis; it’s a necessary inconvenience, says Minister Senzo Mchunu
“After Rand Water’s announcement last week that scheduled maintenance of pipelines in Vereeniging will affect water supply from 15 to 17 November..."
Julia-GautengWater-inset-Senzo
Cape Town's Day Zero: 'We are axing trees to save water'
“Cutting down trees to save a city from drought might seem like an unlikely plan, but that is exactly what the South African city of Cape Town is doing, soon after it became the first global city to come close to running out of water.…”
cape town day zero
Bureaucracy has developed inertia, they want court to pass orders: SC on Delhi pollution
"NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the bureaucracy for having developed a "don't take any step" attitude in dealing with any situation, during a hearing on the air pollution situation... "
New Delhi story

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