Various countries have had water crises over the past few decades, and the question has to be asked whether they actually learn anything from them or not. Do the governments actually do something to prevent the crisis from happening in the future, or do they just continue to do crisis management every time?
It seems as though some governments do ensure that leaks, which can be responsible for up to 50% water loss, are fixed, but is continuous maintenance done?
The problem is that leakage is not the only problem; over population and climate change are also responsible for major water shortages and water scarcity – dry periods are longer and when the rain does come, it falls over shorter periods; it falls in “spots” rather than over the whole cold front system, as experienced in the past.
This can lead to circumstances in which, although there is some rainfall, there is insufficient rainfall over the regions from where cities get their water for consumption, including rivers, lakes and dams. When cold fronts miss the watersheds, it can create massive water shortages.
This means that alternative options need to be looked at, such as desalination, but this is rather expensive and many countries cannot afford this. Other simpler and cheaper options that could be looked at instead include:
Capturing stormwater before it can run down the drains. Stormwater can equate to many times more water than is required; capturing and storing stormwater in aquifers can be done in an ecologically sensitive manner, and this would ensure that there is sufficient water for use in emergency situations such as extended drought.
Added to this, it is vital that governments inform their citizenship about responsible water-use such as planting gardens that do not require a lot of watering, using grey-water for watering the garden, washing the car etc., and other methods of conserving and recycling/reusing water. This information needs to be across the board; including in informal settlements and rural areas where lack of education means that they do not know about such things.