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World Water Day (22 March) is a chance to take a close look at how we think about water. In South Africa, water is a very hot topic. With large parts of our country facing severe drought, it's up to each of us to be clever about how we use this precious resource.
The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.
Damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. Climate change, low rainfall, and densely populated urban areas all combine to create a major water shortage across South Africa. While we wait for the rain to come, our best bet is to acknowledge that water is becoming a scarce resource, and we should make every effort to preserve it.
We can all make a difference by implementing small changes in our everyday lives. With the advances in technology, anyone with a smartphone can save some drops. As we are starting to understand the effects of global warming better, we are developing technologies that can help us build a more sustainable future. Here are two apps to help you save water.
This handy app shows water usage on a monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly basis. It measures how much water you use, and you might be surprised to learn how much goes down the drain while you’re brushing your teeth, for example. After one month of monitoring your usage, set yourself targets to reduce your water usage.
This app was developed by the University of Cape Town in response to the dire water situation in the Western Cape. It also measures your water consumption and gives you the stats in an easy-to-read format. The app doesn’t need internet access to work, so it can be used in any household in rural or urban areas.
You can read more about the app and its development here.
Remember, the average person in South Africa uses 240 litres of water per day (without water restrictions of course). Let’s make a combined effort to save water. Every drop counts.
Water-saving technology of the future
Smart appliances like fridges, ovens, and microwaves contain sensors that can help us save water and electricity, but these items come with a price tag, making them inaccessible to most South Africans. Thanks to advances in technology, we will soon be able to turn our dumb appliances into smart ones with one super-sensor.
A Google-funded team is developing a super-sensor to monitor and manage your home via one highly capable sensor board. The sensor works by picking up radio interference, motion, air pressure, acoustics, vibration, and a range of other things. With this information, connected apps and hardware would be able to monitor various activities in the home, and even turn off or limit usage. Real-world application is still some way off, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities this technology holds.
What is Vodacom doing to save water?
As a responsible corporate citizen of South Africa, Vodacom is doing its bit to conserve water in its operations around the country. At their corporate headquarters in Midrand, a rainwater harvesting project was launched as early as 2013. This is now generating enough water to be used in several buildings in the complex.
In the water-stressed Western and Eastern Cape, various initiatives have been launched to help save water. Regulators have been fitted to reduce pressure in taps and grey water is used in toilets where possible - these are just two examples of water-saving moves that have resulted in a 30% reduction in water use compared to previous years. Facilities managers are continuously looking for better ways to save water and contribute to defeating Day Zero!
Vodacom's Water Management solution
Vodacom’s Water Metering solution is designed to help business monitor water usage in real time, improve billing accuracy and get insights to adapt consumption, all across multiple locations. Faults can be identified and resources optimised. This ultimately results in water savings and improved efficiencies.
Vodacom's Water Metering solution includes:
- Internet-based data acquisition, hosting and analysis platform
- Continuous and remote monitoring management of water consumption
- ￼￼￼￼￼Recorded data viewable in tabular and graphic format
- Alarm notifications can be set up and sent via SMS or email
- Profile reports emailed daily
- Ability to exported data to CSV files to share and use offline
- Data analysis enables the identification of system problems, leakages and unauthorised water use
- Utilise data to improve demand forecasting and budgeting, and to provide accurate meter readings to ￼￼utility providers.