Gauteng and NW Province

Water, food and energy challenges must be met.

Environment check
by Anthony Turton

Change is never easy and seldom welcomed, but it is again upon us as a nation.Like it or not there are some fundamental truths that we need to start dealing with if we are to reach our full economic potential.

Four truths are particularly ugly, but given their importance to us collectively, we need to confront them with wisdom and clear heads. These are :

First, South Africa has reached the limit of its readily available water and we are now transitioning to a future economy that is supply-constrained.

Second, South Africa has reached the limit of its coal based energy resources and we are transitioning to a future which we will be forced to rethink our national energy security.

Third, for reasons that are complex and historically sensitive, South Africa is transitioning to a future that will be increasingly food insecure. Part of the problem is associated endemic water scarcity.

Fourth, the weather in South Africa is delicately balanced between major global systems over which we have no direct control.The best available science suggests that in all probability ambient air temperatures will increase over the next century with 4 degrees Celsius. This will have major implications on our rainfall patterns.

Higher temperature will mean increased evaporation losses and proliferation of toxic blue-green algae that already affect one-third of the total volume of water we have available at national level.


It is evident that we have to start saving water. By re-using grey water it also minimises the water sent to the sewage works. Start now; harvest your own rain water and recycle it.

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