Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 33

flush it away into treatment plants that ultimately return it to the sea via increasingly eutrophic rivers . In short , we spend vast amounts of money to acquire access , expect to pay minimal amounts for it and , after we ’ ve used it once , we pretty much flush it away .

The African water sector is a truly exciting place for savvy investors with a healthy appetite for risk .” Professor Anthony Turton

This attitude , explains water strategist , Anthony Turton , ‘ is encapsulated in the paradigm of scarcity . The Dublin Principles , on which integrated water resource management ( IWRM ) is based globally , tells us that “ water is a finite and vulnerable resource ”.’
The scarcity paradigm , he continues , ‘ has only two tools in the box – getting more by building dams , and using less by managing demand .
These are very blunt instruments as the Day Zero saga has shown us .’
How have we valued water in the past ?
In a word , illogically . The one thing on earth that we depend upon most critically is the one thing we squander , throw away and – not to put too fine a point on it – defecate in . Of course , in some places where water is not so available , we have put a greater value on it … sort of . Take Johannesburg – an excellent example of how we really value water . It ’ s one of the very few cities in the world situated on a watershed , so it ’ s always been water-constrained . But we value gold more than water ( until you haven ’ t had a drink for two days , of course ), so we have gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain sufficient water to keep the city – and the mines – going . Johannesburg gets its water through interbasin transfer schemes from KwaZulu-Natal and – even more so – from the Lesotho Highlands Water Programme , which means that much of the city ’ s water is imported from a foreign country .
So it seems that we are prepared to pay vast sums of money to get access to water , but once we have it , how do we treat it ? Sticking to our example of Joburg , it ’ s pretty much a case of use , abuse and refuse ( the latter is a noun , not a verb ). We use it in the mines , and let it stagnate in acid-rich slurry ponds to pollute groundwater ; we water crops with it , and allow dissolved fertiliser and pesticides to return to the rivers ; we use it in our homes and
The paradigm of scarcity , he explains , ‘ exists in a world dominated by the linear economy . We regard water as a stock , to be used once and then discarded , as all linear-process thinking dictates . In this model putting money into water is seen as a cost to be avoided and only spent by government .’
But , as he points out , water is not scarce . It ’ s only fresh water that is . Actually , even that is not 100 % true – it ’ s only accessible , clean , fresh water that is .
What ’ s changed ?
Well , nothing . And everything . Nothing , in that the systems in place are still archaically wasteful . And everything , in that the sickly , dehydrated , semi-starved pollution-mutated chickens have come home to roost . Johannesburg has woken up to the fact that acid mine drainage is destroying farmland , causing birth defects , and even poisoning crocodiles way downstream in the Kruger – albeit with a solid cadre of denialists .
And Cape Town – nuff sed . We all know about the Cape Town water crisis , and even though the winter rains have been pretty okay , it ’ s not over yet . We ’ ve woken up , and we are – slowly – wising up . But perhaps too slowly . Failure to effectively address the water issue could have frightening consequences that will inevitably impact on the economy . Turton puts it into perspective :
In 2002 South Africa became a water-constrained economy , and in 2015 it became capital-constrained . This means that
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flush it away into treatment plants that ultimately return it to the sea via increasingly eutrophic rivers. In short, we spend vast amounts of money to acquire access, expect to pay minimal amounts for it and, after we’ve used it once, we pretty much flush it away. The African water sector is a truly exciting place for savvy investors with a healthy appetite for risk.” Professor Anthony Turton How have we valued water in the past? In a word, illogically. The one thing on earth that we depend upon most critically is the one thing we squander, throw away and – not to put too fine a point on it – defecate in. Of course, in some places where water is not so available, we have put a greater value on it … sort of. Take Johannesburg – an excellent example of how we really value water. It’s one of the very few cities in the world situated on a watershed, so it’s always been water-constrained. But we value gold more than water (until you haven’t had a drink for two days, of course), so we have gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain sufficient water to keep the city – and the mines – going. Johannesburg gets its water through interbasin transfer schemes from KwaZulu-Natal and – even more so – from the Lesotho Highlands Water Programme, which means that much of the city’s water is imported from a foreign country. So it seems that we are prepared to pay vast sums of money to get access to water, but once we have it, how do we treat it? Sticking to our example of Joburg, it’s pretty much a case of use, abuse and refuse (the latter is a noun, not a verb). We use it in the mines, and let it stagnate in acid-rich slurry ponds to pollute groundwater; we water crops with it, and allow dissolved fertiliser and pesticides to return to the rivers; we use it in our homes and This attitude, explains water strategist, Anthony Turton, ‘is encapsulated in the paradigm of scarcity. The Dublin Principles, on which integrated water resource management (IWRM) is based globally, tells us that “water is a finite and vulnerable resource”.’ The scarcity paradigm, he continues, ‘has only two tools in the box – getting more by building dams, and using less by managing demand. These are very blunt instruments as the Day Zero saga has shown us.’ The paradigm of scarcity, he explains, ‘exists in a world dominated by the linear economy. We regard water as a stock, to be used once and then discarded, as all linear-process thinking dictates. In this model putting money into water is seen as a cost to be avoided and only spent by government.’ But, as he points out, water is not scarce. It’s only fresh water that is. Actually, even that is not 100% true – it’s only accessible, clean, fresh water that is. What’s changed? Well, nothing. And everything. Nothing, in that the systems in place are still archaically wasteful. And everything, in that the sickly, dehydrated, semi-starved pollution-mutated chickens have come home to roost. Johannesburg has woken up to the fact that acid mine drainage is destroying farmland, causing birth defects, and even poisoning crocodiles way downstream in the Kruger – albeit with a solid cadre of denialists. And Cape Town – nuff sed. We all know about the Cape Town water crisis, and even though the winter rains have been pretty okay, it’s not over yet. We’ve woken up, and we are – slowly – wising up. But perhaps too slowly. Failure to effectively address the water issue could have frightening consequences that will inevitably impact on the ec 丁Qѽ́ЁѼ)ѥٔ)%ȁMѠɥ݅ѕȵɅ)ԁЁхɅQ́́ѡ)ܹхє٥)