South Africa: Dry Land - How the Race for Water Could Leave Us High and Dry, Part One


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"....

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.