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Water Wise Watch - February 2021


WW watch February 2021

This month at Water Wise

 The natural environment is interrelated

Anyone that indulges in any form of media would be familiar with the term “a new normal”, which interestingly took the 38th spot on the Global Language Monitor’s top 50 terms of 2020. This term has gained popularity, due to its general use to refer to the serious conditions COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to live under. Would associating the term "a new normal" with climate change help people to understand that climate change is changing our way of life? The concept of a changing world as a result of climate change is based on the notion that our natural environment has been experiencing climate variability for the last five decades with the annual temperature increasing by 1.5 times in South Africa over time.

Let's take into account that all aspects of the environment are interdependent, humans included. It is no secret that climate change will have an impact on all sectors of society, including and not limited to water, biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as agriculture and economy. When the operation of these sectors are interrupted, it is not only the vulnerable communities that are affected; uncertainty can occur on all levels of social, economic, and environmental factors. More significantly, the progress on sustainable development becomes threatened.  

As stated in Section 24(a) of the Constitution of South Africa; “everyone has a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.” With this in mind, we all have a responsibility to ensure that the environment is not in a state that can threaten our livelihoods. We must acknowledge that all elements of the environment connect to one another, which means a disturbance with one aspect of the environment has a knock-on effect on the others.

For instance, wetlands are known to be one of the most important life support systems on the planet. When severe climate variability is in effect, wetland functions and services become interrupted, which can lead to the displacement or loss of wetland-dependent plant and animal species. Wetlands are essential to human well-being as well, which means economic growth can be affected by damaged wetlands. However, forming innovative bottom-up approaches to wetland rehabilitation and conservation that include our communities, to mend and protect the remaining wetlands gives our society some resilience towards the impact of climate change. 

World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2021 focus on getting educated about the role wetlands play in the face of climate change and why wetlands play a significant role in our water supplies. Read more about it here.
Join Water Wise, BirdLife South Africa and Johannesburg City Parks and Zoos for a virtual webinar to celebrate World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2021 at 19:00

Flufftail Fest


Take a proactive approach to wetland conservation by joining the weekly 'Conservation Conversations' webinars with BirdLife SA. BirdLife SA has generously invited Water Wise and Johannesburg City Parks to join their virtual webinar on 2 February at 19:00 to talk about the importance of wetlands and wetland conservation in Gauteng. Register now!

Water Wise gardening ideas

 Crop pick for this month:


 Image above: organic bush beans ready for harvest.

Bush beans

Legumes are one of the natural solutions to enhancing soil health. They convert atmospheric nitrogen to absorbable nitrogen into the soil. Certain vegetable crops such as cabbage are dependent on nitrogen for maximum development. 

Planting tips for bush beans: 

  • Optimum spacing for bush beans is 5 cm x 45 to 60 cm. However, for home use you may allow plants to grow longer than commercial farmers, thus allowing plants to grow larger. In this case a 20 cm  x 45 cm spacing would be good.
  • Once the crop starts to grow you can harvest every two to three days.
  • For a regular supply of beans start planting in early spring and sow a few new seeds every month. This will ensure you have a crop of different ages to support you throughout the season.
  • Bush beans absorb water and nutrients at 20 to 40 cm deep in the soil, therefore 35 litres of water is sufficient for a square meter of bush beans per week.
  • After planting legumes, for high yield potential, brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, etc) can be planted as replacement.

WW tip of the month

WW Calculator

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, many households have most of their family members at home throughout the day. This means that there has been a change in the water usage pattern. Change your household's behaviour towards water usage by keeping track of your water use patterns here. This will also help you save money during this really difficult period.

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There are two new DIY videos on our YouTube channel. These show you how to make your own rain gauges and watering cans from household items. Click on the YouTube icon below to go to our channel. 

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Environmental days


Feb 2021 02 Feb: World Wetlands Day

Water and environmental news


“KwaZulu-Natal will have to spend R100-billion over the next 10 years to replace ageing water infrastructure and build new dams to meet the demand by residents of its 54 municipalities. This is according to the progress report on a provincial water master plan presented by the KwaZulu-Natal government last week to the province’s co-operative governance portfolio...”
"The rain which Severe Tropical Storm "Chalane" brought to southern Africa during the Christmas and New Year period last year is still fresh in the minds of the general public. Now, a fresh tropical system named "Eloise" has developed..."
Cyclone names idai
“Washington, DC — Despite dire predictions, the Trump Administration's overall policy toward Africa represented continuity. Foreign aid continued; skilled diplomats were appointed and deployed to resolve conflicts; and the signature Africa programs of past presidents remained unabated.”
“By 2050, most people on Earth will live downstream of tens of thousands of large dams built in the 20th century, many of them already operating at or beyond their design life, according..."

Dam capacities