It’s official, the world’s water supply is running out. At least that is the grim reality for the people of Cape Town in South Africa. In 2017, South Africa experienced its worse drought since 1904 . Water levels in the dams dropped to a significantly dangerous level. So dangerous in fact that if consumption continues at its current rate, Cape Town will run out of water before May 2018.
Water is the most valuable resource our planet possesses and the situation in Cape Town, the first major capital city to face this crisis, highlights how crucial it is for us to think about our carbon footprint.
We all think the day will never come when the planet’s water supply is suddenly non-existent. If we think about how often we turn on the tap in one day, it soon becomes obvious how much we rely on our diminishing water sources.
There is much debate about whether climate change exists or not, but we have to stop and think about what the change in seasons is telling us. Weather patterns are shifting. Summers are getting drier. Winters are wetter. Is this the result of our constantly changing climates? A debate in itself, but it does make us think.
However, what we do know is if we don’t conserve our precious water resources soon, we will face the grim reality of lining up at water stations for allocated daily rations. History has shown us already this is a reality. Droughts in regional African countries has seen supply rationing over many decades. The world faced food and water rationing during World Wars I and II. Soon it will happen in Cape Town if water levels in the dams drop below 33%.
So what can we do as travellers to preserve our precious natural resource?
- Book accommodation which is eco-friendly. More and more hotels and campsites are promoting green practices so you have more choices.
- Green hotels are giving guests the option to keep their towels more than a day in order to save water. A towel can be re-used for up to two or three days before it needs to be changed.
- Don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth or during your bathroom routine .Ensure the tap is turned off fully to prevent drips once you have finished.
- Reduce your shower time to two minutes, but turn the water off while lathering yourself with soap. New studies show showering everyday can damage your skin and hair’s natural cell makeup. These cells are called microbiomes and if damaged can cause hair to break and health issues such as heart problems.
- You may not realise it but certain foods use more water than others. For example; opt for chicken over beef in restaurants. as beef consumes much more water. Use the online food calculator to determine how much water is used to prepare your favourite meals.
- Pack lightweight, quick drying clothes which can be easily washed in sinks instead of using the laundry service. You will use less water doing it yourself than sending it to the water hungry washing machines to be cleaned.
- Choose tour companies which promote sustainable tourism and give back to the community and protect our natural resources. In Australia, a few sustainable.tour companies include: Intrepid, On the Go , Chimu Adventures and G Adventures. But more and more companies are turning green in response to travellers who want to reduce their carbon footprint while exploring the world.
These are small steps we can all play in reducing our water consumption to ensure our most precious natural resource is sustained for future generations.
The below map was sourced from the International Water Management Centre and shows the scary reality of how water shortage will impact our planet if we continue our current behaviour.
All other photos courtesy of Google ClipArt Gallery