Water saving awareness

2018-01-23 06:01

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The issue of water scarcity in the city has been the topic of the day since the water situation started deteriorating, and officials are believed to have done their best to come up with solutions, with joint public participation.

However, there is an emerging concern about the failure to also educate members of the public about the effects of some of the water-saving measures.

Residents of Pinelands recently complained about the abnormal presence of mosquitoes in their homes during this summer season, which they believe to be a result of their water-saving measures, including the use of JoJo tanks and pool covers.

It is also been reported that the way in which the message about the water situation is being communicated has negatively affected young children, with one parent describing it as paranoia over the situation.

Patrizia Corrada says she feels a need for officials to find a better way to communicate the message to minors and make them understand that although things are not looking good, humans are still in control of the situation and there is still hope.

“As a parent I think the worst side effect of the situation is the anxiety it is provoking in children. We are surrounded by apocalyptic news at home, school and everywhere.

“It is important that government finds a way to help parents and teachers with information on how to communicate the situation to children.

“The children must be shown that adults are in control of the situation,” says Corrada.

Another resident, Rory Richards, says the City of Cape Town has done a good job in addressing the current situation but has failed to warn the public about the side effects of the water-saving measures they are ­encouraging.

He says he has appealed to the City to start running awareness campaigns before it is too late.

“Some people have even resorted to drinking rainwater stored in their tanks, unaware of the dangers as roofs are not really clean, and there have been various outbreaks of diseases.
“Also, there should be a way to prevent mosquitoes where JoJo tanks and pool covers are used. People need to be educated about this,” says Richards.

He says he has discovered that pouring bleach in and around tanks helps to reduce the presence of mosquitoes and he advises people to implement this method, as other solutions have not really been found.

Responding to the issue of communicating the message in schools, Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), says: “The WCED has advised schools to appoint small committees representing staff and learners to drive water-saving projects.

“Schools should maintain good relationships with their municipalities and invite municipal officials to address assemblies on water saving.

“The WCED is encouraging every teacher to become a water champion.

“Schools should mobilise parental support for water saving, and should advise parents on the possible impact of the drought on teaching and learning,” adds Shelver. 

She adds that the WCED has provided schools with display materials designed by the City regarding the detection and repair of leaks, as well as water-saving measures in ablution facilities, water scarcity warnings, and the water restrictions in place.

 She says the department will continue to provide material issued by the WCED, the Western Cape Government and the City. 

Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg, says the City has communicated extensively on the severity of the drought crisis that is currently gripping our region and therefore, believes that more locals and visitors have made concerted efforts to conserve water. 

“Our communication has targeted every resident in Cape Town, but we believe that all parents and educators need to realise their responsibility to educate minors about the drought and how they can save as much water as possible,” she says.

Regarding the mosquitoes, she says the current circumstances and the need to save water, residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by removing potential mosquito breeding sites as she says some mosquitoes lay eggs in containers found around one’s home, creating the need for extra care. 

“Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in still or standing water, the increase of mosquitoes at the homes of residents who own pools is to be expected, but residents are reminded to ensure their pool cover is on most of the time.

Jojo tanks however are completely closed and attached to the gutterpipe which feeds the tank with water,” explains Limberg.



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