Could South Africa Have Solved Their Water Crisis Politically?
South Africa is going to have major problems, and really soon. Cape Town is expected to run out of water in the next few months, leaving taps dry and people thirsty. Government failure is no doubt to blame, as no alternative water source was sought.
Residents are stuck looking for their own solutions.
The rich will persist with their capability to dig wells, order trucks filled with bottled water and even dig boreholes. Water prices are expected to be inflated, and the poor are expected to suffer. Inequality will become prevalent as the poor, already hungry, will have to cut back on food to buy high-priced water.
Officials have also started to drill into aquifers, leaving ecologists worried that the practice will harm the rare plants that grow there. Some plants are so rare that there are fears they may go extinct.
“Day Zero” is expected to come in July, as traditional plumbing will cease to exist.
Rain may help offset the water supply, or lack thereof, but it’s going to be a crisis that the modern world has never seen. The government has been slow to adopt new technologies or make headway into correcting the water crisis.
And there’s even some indication that dirty politics could have played a role in the situation becoming as advanced and serious as it is today.
Israel has a remarkable way of conserving water, and there are many points at play here. An example for all countries, Israel has spent the better part of 70 years refining the water supply and ensuring water for citizens even in desert climates.
But there’s an effective boycott of Israel in the Western Cape.
Go back two years ago, and you’ll find an international conference where Israel’s ambassador to South Africa was set to speak. The international conference, focusing on the water crisis, could have benefitted from Israel’s input as a leader in irrigation, desalination, conservation and water recycling.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement gloated at the time, stating “the rug has been pulled from the Israeli ambassador, who will not be able to exploit our very serious water crises for his own cheap publicity and whitewashing of his regime. Israel water technology is not unique or special; such technology is widely available through other more friendly countries.”
Repeated efforts have been made to assist Cape Town, but the effective boycott is such that the local government would rather people go without water than work alongside Israel for the greater good of their people.
But now it’s a game of wait and see.
Long-term efforts need to be made to solve the water crisis, and this means efforts that take time to make an impact. It might be too late to avoid “Day Zero,” but if the government doesn’t act swiftly, it may be a prolonged shortage that leaves millions of people, primarily the poor, without any source of clean drinking water aside from expensive bottled water.
Cape Town needs a change, but it’s likely too late to avoid the impending water crisis looming over South Africa.