Israeli water expert on S. Africa crisis: ‘Manage water as stock’

During the event, Lipchin, who was born and raised in South Africa, explained that Cape Town is not the only city in the world facing a water crisis; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Brisbane, Australia, have also recently faced similar situations.
This was a turning point for Israel.
“You have to manage water as stock.
Seventy to 80% of Israel’s drinking water supply comes from the sea [and is desalinated] but that’s not enough.
You have to value every single drop of water and put it into productive use.” Addressing the Cape Town crisis, Lipchin said he does not doubt that South Africa will be able to find a solution.
Lipchin also explained that to some degree there are similarities of water inequality in the townships in South Africa and in some of the Palestinian villages.
If I go to a township [in South Africa] or a Palestinian village, one of the problems there is that there is lack of infrastructure – there’s no drinking water network or sewage network.
We have on-site solar desalination units to treat the water on-site and is giving the farmers high-quality water that is increasing their crop yields and improving their socioeconomic position as they have greater income coming out of their agriculture.” He concluded by saying, “What we need for South Africa… is [to figure out] how to provide sufficient, safe and affordable water to those who are on a network and those who are not on a network.” DR. ANTHONY TURTON, a professor of the Center for Environmental Management at the University of Free State said, “The water crisis in Cape Town has forced us to a point where we cannot go any further with our paradigm of scarcity.” Turton explained that South Africa doesn’t have a water problem but rather a “pollution problem, a salt problem, or a problem about water at the wrong time, the wrong place, too far, too dirty – that is the problem.
So we must re-frame the problem, and we need this new paradigm of abundance.” “We must re-frame this problem… We must recover the water from waste, that is the first thing we have to do and we have to put time, energy and technology into that,” he said.
In the good years we have to recharge [ground water] and put it back.” He added that with climate change, “it’s not so much that we’re getting less water but it’s that we are losing more to evaporation.” He made it clear that using the right technology, governance and policy programs could vastly change the situation in South Africa.

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