Last weekend’s torrential downpour was no doubt a welcome relief to many in an area that has been gripped by increasingly dry weather. They say it doesn’t rain but it pours, and last weekend that certainly proved to be the case.
However, we as a community should be careful not to let such rare occurrences go to our heads.
Anyone who has been following the news would know that the Buffalo City Metro along with the rest of the Eastern Cape, has been in the grip of a water crisis for many years now. Thanks to climate change, rainfall has been getting rarer with each season.
And when the rains do come, it’s When it does decide to fall, it’s in progressively less amounts.
Last weekend’s downpour was great, sure, but let’s not pretend it’s anything but a glaring exception to an otherwise depressing rule.
The Mail & Guardian reported last year that there are some parts of the Eastern Cape (mostly in the less developed rural areas) that are on the brink of their own Day Zero. For those who have forgotten, Day Zero is when dams reach 0% capacity and an area is left with absolutely no water.
This scenario might be hard to imagine for those of us lucky enough to have access to running water whenever we turn on the tap, but it’s a tragic reality for a large portion of the population.
And it’s only going to get worse as the threat of climate change escalates.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier columns, it’s already too late to turn back the clock on climate change so as a country, we need to start preparing for a world of increased water scarcity.
On an individual level, this means adopting as many water-saving techniques as possible, such as investing in rain-water tanks, making use of grey water systems, and so on. On a national level, this means ensuring that there are proper policies in place to help those who will be most affected by this ecological disaster.
This will require a dedicated expansion of national infrastructure and a revision of current social security measures to take into account the drastic change in environmental conditions.
It will be difficult, sure, but if we leave it for too long, the alternative will be far worse.