Gamka Dam-Nov-2017

Our Forgotten Amenities

If one takes stock and review’s the last couple of years of South Africa’s amenities concerns, the most prevalent, in the minds of many people, would be our seemingly ever-present struggle for a consistent and reliable source of electricity. This issue has taken on a life of its own to such an extent that the focus on any of our other vital resources has inadvertently been left on the bench.

Surprising to some South Africa is classified as semi-arid country. And while it is a given that our economic growth is reliant on a stable supply of electricity, it is also a cold fact that we can’t get by without a consistent supply of fresh water.

South Africa is not a water-rich country, in fact, SA is considered water stressed.” but precisely what are we doing about it? One could be forgiven for thinking that there is precious little preparation underway for national water security or skills development to ensure we become more efficient users of this invaluable resource. One need only think back to the Cape Town of last year, the ever-escalating water restrictions and the dire prediction of “Day Zero”. Beaufort West in the Karoo is running out of Water, and fast. The town in the water-scarce region has water restrictions at level 5 – almost as severe as last year’s water crisis measures in Cape Town. One year later, Beaufort West is battling prolonged, extreme water shortages, with the Karoo municipality implementing level 5 water restrictions. The three dams listed as supplying the area with water are the Gamka, Springfontein and Walker Dams. It also relies on 36 boreholes. The Gamka Dam has no water left, the latest available dam levels state that the dam is 0% full. And according to a news report by EWN, some of the 36 boreholes are drying up. The Western Cape government said there was no crisis in the Karoo municipality, with no Day Zero approaching. (1)

One could assume that little has been done since February of 2013 when a revised National Development Plan was put forward. Describing water as potentially the most significant limit to growth in the economic and agricultural sectors, The document also stated that there was a growing concern about the countries water future and “the ability of the current water administration to cope with emerging challenges”.

Key areas of focus in the document were a call for a massive increase in water efficiency, leak detection and water quality. Furthermore, the plan called for a dedicated national program to provide support in efforts to reduce water demand and increase productivity.

The Action Plan With No Skilled Professionals

Sadly, nine years on, in the light of day, South Africa still currently lacks the skills required to implement this type of action plan, and an essential element of its success will be the up-skilling of all water users, large and small. As South Africa’s price of water is minimal the urgency to rectify this problem is just not dire enough yet. it may in the near future. If we cast our minds back less than ten years, the same issues prevailed on electricity. The price of electricity was so low that Eskom’s calls for action fell on deaf ears until several price increases and incentive programs led us towards a change.

The situation seems set to have to go the way of Eskom, with a few steep price increases to ensure that society realizes that while access to sufficient water is a human right (as ensconced in our Constitution) one does not have the right to abuse this gift of the commons.

Finally and possibly most importantly, many new jobs are needed to fulfil the skills vacuum that exists today in water efficiency and management. Education and skills creation is an area that can have an immediate effect on the water scarcity issue. Emerging are a variety of new exciting professions such as Community Water Manager, Water Auditor, Water Minimisation Expert, Water Quality Manager and Water Flow Manager. The individuals who obtain these skills-sets and knowledge will appreciate that their expertise will be required. And the situation isn’t confined to South Africa. One-quarter of the world’s large cities, including at least two in the United States, are “water-stressed”.

Terra Firma Academy’s Water Efficiency Management course will ensure that aspirants to the professions mentioned above are fully equipped with the skills required to meet and surpass the requirements these jobs entail. This course is also professionally accredited and internationally recognized by the CIWEM – The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, meaning the skills you acquire upon completion of the course, are valid globally, in over 89 countries.

Our Water Efficiency Management Course is aimed at individuals who want to build a career around advising businesses on how to measure and reduce their water consumption immediately and for those who wish to extend their live skill sets to be able to implement an in-house water management strategy. Learners will be able to conduct financial assessments of many water management solutions and will get a strong understanding of how to recommend solutions that maximize return on investment.

The time to build the skills ensuring the efficient use of water resources in our country is now.

Terra Firma Academy runs its Water Efficiency Management Course nationwide, and it can be conducted in-house for groups of ten or more.

If you are interested in upskilling or acquiring an internationally certified skill, contact us today on 011 568 0768 or email us on

1 (Source: The Daily Maverick -25 January 2019)