It's time to take the journey of our water

In light of the drought, and the realisation that water stress is the new normal, we’ve been forced to reconsider the way we use water. It has even inspired a renewed and deeper appreciation for this natural resource that we simply can’t live without.

What better way to acknowledge the value of water than gaining an appreciation of where this resource comes from by following WWF South Africa’s Journey of Water?

With 8 of South Africa’s 9 provinces declared disaster zones due to the drought in 2016 – including some heavy rains and flash floods in certain areas - the effects of water stress are being felt like never before.

The scarcity has taught us the need for sacrifice and understanding, something that a group of high-profile South Africans will experience first-hand this month.

A tight team of enthusiastic WWF South Africa supporters, including a number of high-profile South African personalities are involved in a three-day adventure from Mabola to Pongola between 5 to 7 June, charting the journey from water source to tap.

During the Journey of Water, participants will trek through this water source area while learning about some of the biggest challenges facing water security in the country. For example, abandoned mines that pollute our water sources, irresponsible land use that accelerate creeping erosion and collapsed sewage infrastructure that pour human waste into rivers.

The trek

The journey kicks off with a walk through the grasslands of Mpumalanga before navigating the route from source to tap.

Day 2 explores the effects of human development on water supply. After effects of the coal mining in the 1930s in Makateeskop has left 19 abandoned mines that bleed pollution into the upper catchment.

Unwise land use practices near the Manzaan River area have aggravated creeping erosion that affects down-stream water quality and Bivane Dam.

The day concludes with a visit to Bivane Dam, the largest privately-owned surface dam in South Africa, that supplies the Pongola region with water.

On the last day, walkers will take an extraordinary route through the eastern regions of the Ithala Game Reserve before visiting Pongola and Ncotshane – examples of collapsed waste water infrastructure in South Africa. 

Follow the journey and find out more about where your water comes from: www.wwf.org.za/journeyofwater #JourneyofWater

6 facts you need to know about your water:

  • 50% of the water in our rivers and dams comes from just 8% of our land area
  • 18% of South Africans rely on communal taps while 9% of South Africans rely on springs, rivers and wetlands for water
  • South Africa receives just half of the world’s average rainfall each year
  • 60% of our river ecosystems are under threat
  • 98% of South Africa’s reliable water is already allocated
  • 8 out of 9 provinces were declared disaster areas in 2016 due to the ongoing drought

This publication was published in May 2017 by WWF-SA and can be downloaded here.