South Africa is a water scarce country, with disasters declared in several provinces due to drought. Yet ecologists are concerned that an over-emphasis on built infrastructure means any short-term water augmentation plans put into place now will be just that - short term, leaving the critical environmental support structure that ensures sustainable water supply threatened. And if you think this problem is unique to the Western Cape's much-publicised water crisis, think again. Just 8% of South Africa's land supplies 50% of its water. And that land is threatened. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
This is part 1 of a two-part feature
Where does your water come from?
Dams? And where does that water come from? Rain? Partially. But how does that water get to the built infrastructure?
The rain so many have been hoping for travels through a complex, ingenious network of ecological infrastructure, which the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) explains as the naturally functioning ecosystems providing a different kind of service delivery to humans: fresh water, climate regulation, soil formation and disaster risk reduction. It is, SANBI says, the "nature-based equivalent of built or hard infrastructure, and just as important for providing services and underpinning socio-economic development"....