News and updates from the continent

National Water Week, World Water Day: Our finite resource

National Water Week, World Water Day: Our finite resource

Mar 18, 2014

“A slow dripping tap can waste 20 litres or more a day,” says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, African Utility Week’s programme director. “The aim of having a week dedicated to water issues helps each of us become aware of the challenges and change our habits and decisions we make today, as they will impact on our water cycle tomorrow.”

South Africa’s National Water Week 2014 falls in line with World Water Day on 22 March, showing that South Africa is part of the greater water resource cycle.

Pombo-van Zyl says South Africa can be very proud of its Blue Drop certification system that motivates municipalities to strive for high quality of drinking water and service delivery. She adds: “However, they can’t do it alone and it is everyone’s responsibility to report problems with water quality, burst pipes and to fix household leaks. During Water Week, take part in an exercise to note the reading on your water meter. Then for a period of two hours don’t use any water. Take another reading after the two hours and if there is any change you can now know there is a slow leak or pipe leak somewhere on your property.”

Water-Energy-Food Nexus debate for Africa
During African Utility Week’s focused two-day water conference track in May, there is a high-level panel dialogue on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and realising Africa’s development agenda – the nexus is a visionary method of achieving sustainability by integrated solutions which address the interconnections within the water, energy and food security nexus.

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus panel moderator will be Paul T. Yillia of SE4All, the UN Secretary General’s initiative on sustainable energy for all: “The nexus debate at African Utility Week will be specifically about Africa and for Africa. The discussion will be tailored to respond to the requirements within the African context. We will cover topics like investment opportunities for developing Africa’s water and energy infrastructure, i.e. innovative private sector participation, private public partnerships, etc. and the water and energy linkages with food production systems and improvement of livelihoods.”

City of Cape Town
The City of Cape Town’s Director Water & Sanitation Peter Flower will be part of the panel dialogue. “The impact of climate change is predicted to have significant influence on water supply, energy provision and agriculture. There is the debate around water use for urban areas and to allow people to live dignified and comfortable lives versus agriculture and the need to produce food. While in Cape Town we have been able to minimise the reliance on electricity for operating our water supply infrastructure (due to our topography and design of our water supply system), many of the possible future water supply schemes have high energy requirements,” Flower says.

Other topics on the water programme include: Case studies in water infrastructure and resource development solutions; and a debate for and against pre-paid water metering.

Says Pombo-van Zyl: “South Africa is a water-stressed country and the flooding we have recently experienced causes more harm than good. Dams can’t operate effectively when they are over capacity and sewerage gets into the system, causing water-borne disease to spread. Furthermore, water utilities face challenges with future global water consumption increasing at least 20% by 2050 in the agricultural sector alone, raising the pressure on water resources.”

About African Utility Week
The 14th African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and expo will take place at the CTICC in Cape Town from 13-14 May 2014. The largest utility gathering of its kind on the continent, it is attended by over 5 000 power and water professionals from more than 30 African countries and 70 worldwide. Discussions, workshops, exhibits and site visits will focus on the industry disciplines of metering, clean power, water, large power users, investment and finance, transmission & distribution, smart grids and generation.

Conference and Exhibition (including workshops):  13-14 May 2014
Focus day:  12 May 2014
Site visits:  15 May 2014
Location:  CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
Websites: ;

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