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'Govt, businesses must act swiftly to survive droughts & water shortages'

Experts say South Africa must adapt to recurring droughts.

FILE: Coronationville residents collect water from a tanker. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in South Africa says government and businesses may want to act swiftly if the country is to survive recurring droughts and water shortages.

Local scientists have confirmed weather reports which indicate a lack of rain fall in the northern interior is unlikely to end.

They have explained that dry weather conditions are a direct cause of global climate changes, mainly the El Niño weather phenomenon.

WATCH: Taps run dry in some JHB suburbs.

Bob Scholes, who is a Systems Ecologist at Wits University, says while the country is not yet in crisis, we need to find ways to adapt to the situation.

"Crisis is a strong word; it really depends how you manage it. We are not staring down the barrel yet."

WWF's Christine Colvin agrees that taking care of our water source areas will determine how we cope in future.

"Climate change predictions indicate that these could become more frequent so we need to deal with this now because how we cope with this is going to dictate how we cope with our future water challenges as well; and how secure our economic development will be under conditions of climate change"

She has reiterated warnings that the current conditions will most likely lead to job losses especially in the agriculture and mining sectors.

"We need to see every government department responding to this drought as a national priority. From water affairs, and even mineral resources who are busy issuing mining licenses in our precious water source areas."

She says businesses need to start monitoring their water usage, check for water leakages on their properties and do their utmost to prevent pollution.

THIS IS HOW YOU CAN EASE THE PRESSURE ON THE WATER SUPPLY:

  • Fix all leaking pipes in your home.

  • Take shorter showers or share a bath.

  • Empty bathwater onto the lawn or garden if you can.

  • Don't rake up leaves and throw them away, spread them over your garden to retain water, protect the soil and ultimately make mulch/compost which can be dug.

  • Start a compost heap with your plant clippings and leaves to feed the plants in drought weather.

  • Put a brick or large bottle filled with water into your toilet cistern so it uses less water for flushing.

  • Don't run water to make your shower warm, run the water into a bucket and use the water for the garden.

  • Don't fill the basin when shaving, you only need a little water.

  • Don't rinse dishes under running taps, run some rinsing water in a basin or your second sink to rinse.

  • Use a full load in the dishwasher and washing machine when washing.

  • If you can afford it and have space, install a water tank on your property to catch and save rainwater.

  • Know who to call if you see a leak or wasteful usage of water.

  • Abide by water restrictions issued by government.