In this month of June, when we celebrate a number of international environmental days, it gives us pause to think about the resources we sometimes take for granted. It seems that it is only when our comfort is threatened, that we stop to think of the wasteful ways that our consumptive lifestyle supports.
Water is one of our critical resources that we take for granted. Some communities, who appreciate the scarceness of this resource, use less than a bucket of water a day. That sounds unobtainable for us with our dishwashing machines, sublime free-standing baths and beautifully manicured lawns.
This sounds like just another doom threatening lecture that social media is inundating us with, but actually, small changes and the realisation that water is a resource that can run out, can elicit a massive collective reduction in usage and relieve pressure on every town’s growing municipal service supply needs.
Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre is based in the rural suburb of The Crags, some 20kms outside Plettenberg Bay. Municipal supply of water does not extend to the facility, and so Tenikwa has learnt to be 100% self-sufficient in terms of water requirements.
By harnessing the opportunity to collect rain water, collecting condensation from the buildings, storm water run-off and water-wise indigenous gardening, seasonal rainfall is sufficient to provide water for visitors visiting the Awareness Centre to learn about the indigenous wild cats of Southern Africa and for good quality water for the animals. Eleven dams and an extensive rainwater tank system stores water which is consumed and replenished during the year in a self-sustaining cycle.
Cape Town city has turned their water scarcity problems into an opportunity to elicit sustainable change – and innovatingly inviting tourists not to shy away from visiting, but to embrace and be part of enjoying a holiday whilst using resources conservatively. Cape Town has harnessed the growing trend of responsible tourism to attract visitors and tourists who want to see how the iconic city has responded to their water challenges and the city is being heralded as a forerunner in setting examples of dealing with a world-wide desertification phenomena.