It’s not just Cape Town. South Africa has been tiptoeing on a water crisis for several years. The rural parts of the country have experienced long levels of unsafe water or water shortages. Even urban areas have occasionally witnessed recent water scares and municipal water restrictions. Currently, Cape Town is certainly already submerged in crisis which is creepingly reaching Day Zero. Moreover, the situation has created massive attention to country’s water problems. Because of this, the country and the world might provide technological solutions to the country’s water problems.
Already, social media has been vocal about the late Nkosinathi Nkomo’s greywater invention, AquaRenu, after news of Retief Krige’s similar greywater invention. These innovations target consumers and inspire reuse of greywater for other water purposes. However, the excessive water use is the macro-use by large estates, businesses, sports grounds and other large spaces. For their part, these businesses could invest in desalination systems, as Tsogo Sun has recently declared. However, long-term sustainable solutions that don’t just rely on the good faith of consumers are becoming increasingly necessary. More than this, desalination projects come at a massive cost and are at best, only medium-term solutions.
Innovation to solve the water crisis
What Cape Town and the rest of the nation needs are social entrepreneurship and problem-driven innovation. In fact, Murendeni Mafumo, who previously worked at both the City of Cape Town and the City of Johannesburg gave a talk at TEDxUFS 2017 about water scarcity and the role of innovation in solving it.
In the talk, Macadamia nuts can solve water scarcity, Mafumo informs how expensive and inaccessible water is for rural communities, however, alternative material for water treatment infrastructure and on-site water treatment can make water cheaper and assist in distributing water to the most isolated communities. As a water scientist, Mafumo is one of the many people working on creating innovative solutions to the current water crisis.
In fact, not only can innovations solve water scarcity. Innovation may be the only hope.