Gauteng and NW Province

‘South Africans urged to care more for water’

In celebrating National Water Week 2013, SABI, the South African Irrigation Institute, has called on South Africans to urgently increase their care and respect for the resource of water

The Institute, who aims to ensure optimal irrigation practises and conservation of water, says that the theme of this year’s South Africa’s Water Week – Water is Life- Respect It, Conserve It, Enjoy it – reminds us fittingly of the value of the resource. However, emphasise SABI, it is also a significant concern that we may be causing damage to this essential age-old element at a rate much faster than what it can heal itself.

Comments SABI President Paul van den Berg: “We should remember that the water that today gives us life is also the water that gave life to the dinosaurs. Water is one of the oldest sources of life on the planet. It is every person’s duty to use water sparingly and keep pollution of water to an absolute minimum.

“Saving and caring for water starts with the man on the street, and agriculture, mining and industries, of course, all need to clearly and urgently use water with absolute care.”

What is irrigation’s role in water conservation?
Says SABI’s former President Felix Reinders: “Irrigation is an age-old art and in the words of ND Gulhati of India: ‘Irrigation in many countries is an old art – as old as civilization – but for the whole world it is a modern science – the science of survival.”

Comments Reinders: “In order to conserve water resources, close attention must be paid to the performance of irrigation systems. Continued evaluation and maintenance of irrigation systems are imperative to keep the performance on a high level and to optimize water use efficiency.

“The South African Irrigation Institute support water week because Water is Life to all our members, who respect it – and through good technology and management assist to conserve it with the outcome to enjoy it with all South Africans.”

SABI General Manager Riana Lombard notes that 60% of all water is used in agriculture for irrigation, thus the sector has an important role to play in water conservation and care.

“Irrigation makes a significant contribution to development and growth in South Africa. Education and awareness among South Africans as to the importance of water as a scarce and valuable resource needs to increase. With this we must have strict rules to prevent water pollution and pollution that cannot be avoided, must be properly managed.”

Vulnerability and scarcity
Stresses SABI’s technical executive officer Isobel van der Stoep: “What has probably become most clear in the last decade is the vulnerability of the resource in addition to its scarcity – will our present actions come back to haunt us when we find that life is seriously being threatened due to a lack of suitable water sources?”

She concludes: “There is an urgent need for capacity building amongst individuals and organisations to not only develop, but more importantly, implement policy and legislation aimed at establishing and nurturing a culture in which water can be respected, conserved and enjoyed. Such a culture should start in our homes where our children are taught the real value and importance of water.”

SABI’s (South African Irrigation Institute) role is to actively promote and share knowledge to ensure the optimal and efficient use of water in South Africa, for the ongoing growth and sustainability of the socio-economy in South Africa.
19 Mar 2013 | SowetanLIVE

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