Awareness campaign to reduce water loss

2017-05-31 06:05

DESPITE the recent rains, eThekwini is still affected by the drought and residents are urged to continue to conserve water.

To further spread the message of being water-wise, the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit will be erecting billboards, street pole posters and T-shirts with message of water conservation.

This comes as eThekwini Municipality has been, and still is, beset with grave drought adversity.

As a result, the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit has developed various intervention strategies to mitigate the drought effects including awareness campaigns regarding the importance of conserving water.

The campaigns have also raised awareness on the side of residents about the role water plays in social and economic development with the view of changing attitudes and behaviours of citizens. Community meetings have been held with ward councillors and print and electronic campaigns have been undertaken to ensure audibility of the water scarcity message.

There have been scheduled water interruptions from 7pm to 6am in certain areas. The Unit has also set up response teams to repair leaks, water bursts and to address the plight of people on the ground.

Water bills have also been issued with water conservation tips and notices.

EThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has also launched a WhatsApp reporting line to make it easier for consumers to report water leaks, bursts and other related water queries.

However, it has become critical for the unit to extend and expand its awareness raising drive as part of its multi-pronged information dissemination approach.

Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Mondli Mthembu said the water and sanitation unit is enthusiastic about raising awareness of water conservation.

“This message will be taken to all areas including townships where water is being wasted. We believe there will be a drastic drop in water wastage as a result,” he said.

Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer said there are serious drought challenges with collective programmes needed to change people’s attitudes toward water conservation.

Meanwhile, another report was tabled by the Executive Committee for the purchase of static tanks and stands as a drought relief measure.

The City has relied on 86 council-owned and 40 hired water tankers to weather the storm thus far. However, to maximise the effectiveness and increase the ability of the Unit to deliver water to areas that are affected by the drought, it has embarked on the roll out of static tanks. These tanks will service drought affected areas.

eThekwini Municipality will be entering into a memorandum of agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct engineering testing of innovative sanitation technologies that will improve sanitation services for the poor.

The eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit will collaborate closely with the foundation.

The ground-breaking technologies seeks to contribute positively to the climate change induced water crisis on a global scale. The technologies are designed to work off the sewer grid and will use minimal or no water or recycled waste water while at the same time providing the comfort of a normal flush toilet to residents.

A report tabled at the Executive Committee said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wish to play a significant role in solving world sanitation challenges for the more than 2.5 billion people affected by poor or non-existent sanitation services.

The foundation has for the past five years funded an international grand challenge which seeks to reinvent toilet technologies.

Over the years a number of prototypes were developed and tested, resulting in the selection of five technologies for further engineering testing in the field.

The foundation has selected eThekwini Municipality to test these ground breaking innovations, recognising the City as a world leader in the sanitation field and has the technical capacity and a track-record in innovation.

According to the report, the memorandum of agreement will be beneficial to eThekwini as the innovative toilets that would meet the aspirational needs of the poor, will be tested in communities in eThekwini for the first time. The toilets will significantly reduce water consumption and pressure on the environment. All technology testing funding will be provided by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.

eThekwini will provide local liaison expertise and access to community sites.

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