Harvesting Stormwater to Manage Water Shortages

In 2016, South Africa experienced one of the worst droughts in decades. Many towns and cities across the country were left with compromised water supply systems and limited food production. This placed pressure on an already fragile economy.

South Africa must find ways to adapt to and mitigate water insecurity threats. These can be from droughts, climate change, but also from increases in water demand through urbanisation, population growth and rising standards of living. Towns and cities need to start operating within the limits of their existing water resources.

To avert a future water crisis, the country needs to seek alternative sources of water supply and reduce its reliance on conventional surface water schemes like dams and reservoirs.

Stormwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainfall run-off in open ponds or aquifers. It’s been identified as one alternative water resource that could supplement traditional urban water supplies. Stormwater harvesting is different to rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of run-off water from an individual property with private use – usually from the roofs of buildings.


EC/ECHO/Vicente Raimundo


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