27 May

Ahead of International Earth Day tomorrow, UASA representatives took part in a two-day workshop on climate change policy this week.

The workshop, Climate Change Policy: Issues in water was held by FEDUSA to which UASA is affiliated and engaged representatives on climate change impacts on water which could worsen existing water-related challenges in South Africa. Representatives from a variety of trade unions and industry experts attended.

Water produced in strategic water source areas support 50% of our population, 64% of our economy, 70% of our irrigated agriculture, 64% of Gauteng water supply, and 98% of Cape Town and eThekwini’s water supply.

With this in mind, the workshop discussed how water demand already exceeds freshwater supply in some water management areas, and the issues with allocating scarce water to different users. Other focus points were:

  • · Water conservation and demand management must be implemented to avoid local and regional water crises of the kind that are already a reality in the Upper Vaal, Western Cape, and eThekwini and surrounding areas.
  • · It is estimated that 37% of the water in South Africa’s municipal systems is lost before it reaches customers – through leaks, theft, or metering inaccuracies. 
  • · Water demand is expected to increase with economic growth, increased urbanization, higher standards of living, and population growth. This is why South Africa is called a water-stressed country.

UASA put together a few practical water saving solutions that we encourage South Africans to adopt.

  • · Protecting and conserving our water resources including rivers, dams, and streams.
  • · Limiting activities that result in water pollution.
  • · Campaigning to engage farmers and those working in agriculture to use smart agriculture tools that can help to save water.
  • · Raising awareness around water issues by campaigning and educating people about practical water-saving tips.
  • · Educating people about the importance of collecting rainwater which can be used for other purposes around households and in agriculture.

UASA’s challenge to unions and councils:

  • · Councils must lead and encourage unions to put together a just transition framework that will serve as a water-saving plan in organisations to which all parties must agree and sign before being implemented.
  • · Organisations must deploy smart and adaptable technology to help them save water in their workplaces.
  • · Leaders across sectors must take charge and become advocates who educate our people about the importance of conserving water and the amount of work needed in terms of water safety for the greater benefit of our future in South Africa.
  • · Workers must recycle and re-use water in the kitchen, garden, or for any other purpose in the workplace.
  • · Climate change has proved to be a huge threat to the world’s ecosystem. To address these challenges, FEDUSA introduced a climate change policy framework to engage with their affiliated unions, other organised labour organisations, and relevant entities to come up with practical solutions to solve the problem.

 For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.

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