There is no doubt water scarcity is a serious problem in South Africa. It’s one of the world’s driest countries, less than half of South Africans (46.4%) have water piped in their homes and only 26.8% have access to water on their property at all.
If you live in a drought-stricken region you will know first hand how the lack of water affects every part of life – from limiting how you clean yourself to how frequently you water the garden or wash your clothes. And that’s just on a personal level. More broadly, it’s led to crop losses, food scarcity and economic disruption. This is why it’s especially important for local businesses and communities to work together to promote water sustainability.
Vodacom’s water-saving investments
Vodacom is one such business that has partnered with the government to play an active role in improving water conditions in the country. We believe that if we Connect for Good, amazing things can be accomplished. Some of our initiatives include:
- Vodacom Foundation spent R6-million to alleviate water shortages by delivering 1,651,595 litres of bottled water to schools in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
- Vodacom has worked with the City of Cape Town to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) water dispenser for communities in the Western Cape.
- We’ve partnered with the Water Research Council to send SMS notifications encouraging responsible water use and promoting saving water to over 6-million people in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Vodacom’s water-wise park
Internally, we’ve also invested in various water-wise practices and initiatives to help reduce water consumption. For example, we have a one megalitre rainwater harvesting dam at our head office in Midrand. The dam doesn’t only collect rainwater; it also collects rain falling on our buildings called Commercial Park. Aesthetically, we have also saved water by planting water-wise indigenous plants at our head office.
Vodacom’s Smart Utilities Management Service
Vodacom provides Smart Utilities Management Service (SUMS) through IoT. An IoT barometer monitors water ecosystems continuously so that leakages can be fixed as quickly as possible. IoT can also be used to check the conditions of the infrastructure so that the life span of the machinery can be extended and parts like broken pumps can be fixed or replaced as soon as possible. This is only the beginning of IoT’s role in water conservation. Once IoT becomes a regular fixture in everyday households, you’ll be able to schedule when you use water and control how you use it in your home, garden and pool.
These initiatives are only the tip of the iceberg. Water saving remains a Vodacom priority as we fully support Goal Six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation for all. Watch this space!