As the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa is expected to fall short of the amount of water needed to sustain it and us by 17% by 2030. In a bid to circumvent this by improving the accessibility of clean quality water for South Africans, Finish first partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature SA (WWF) in March of 2020.
According to WWF, it is estimated that the invasive alien Wattle plant costs us the equivalent of $1.2 billion in lost water annually. Therefore, this partnership has led to the clearing of 12.8 hectares of alien trees that released 28 million liters of water. In addition, 3 springs were protected, and an increased number of communities were provided with improved water access. On top of that, there is emphasis on community development. This is through mitigating adverse consequences of high incidences of unemployment by creating jobs and supporting communities’ livelihoods.
“This might not seem like much but when you consider the accumulative efforts of all our partners, we are able to release billions of liters of water into the ecosystem and see 1.2 mil people benefiting from improved water security. And in a country where water is fast depleting, we can no longer rely on only man-made structures such as dams or artificial waterways,” says Samir Randera-Rees, WWF’s Water Source Area’s Program Manager. These natural sources of water such critical wetlands in the Northern Drakensberg and various national rivers are being polluted and drained at a rapid rate.
Consequently, Finish has invested in aiding WWF’s Strategic Water Source Programs which protect South Africa’s key water catchment areas. This includes the clearing of water-intensive invasive plant species spanning hectares and releasing millions of liters of water back into ecosystems. Additional work is centered around commissioning mapping and impact studies in catchment areas and kick-starting erosion control measures to allow topsoil to recover.
In addition to having access to affordable quality water, members from affected communities are employed as eco-champs. They are water custodians in their communities, ordinary citizens whose work is to preserve and protect their local environment. Their work involves monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on the effectiveness of on the ground development. Masibonge Mkhize, Reckitt South Africa’s Partnerships and Purpose Manager adds, “The work we do with WWF is important due to water being our most precious natural resource and is fundamental to various industries that contribute to our country’s socio-economic development and growth.”
When it comes to the role the water infrastructure plays in the country’s economy, the National Freshwater Priority Areas (NFEPA) study has shown that 50% of the population, 64% of the national economy, and 70% of irrigated agriculture rely on water from the water source areas. Yawer Rasool, Reckitt Africa’s Marketing Director says the work Finish does in water conservation is fundamentally about limiting water wastage. “This is our contribution to making South Africa’s national priorities a reality and aligning to related UN Sustainability Development Goal 6 by enabling access to water and sanitation for all.” To supplement the work we are doing, it is critical that we also evaluate how we all use water and consciously use it as sparingly as possible,” concludes Masibonge.
This article was taken from APO Group Newsroom. You can start earning money by becoming our Independent Reporter or Contributor. Contact us at IR@downtownafrica.com
Want to read more about the Africa other media don’t usually focus on? Go to [https://downtownafrica.com/subscribe/]