Water scarcity is here to stay, but we can benefit from taking the right action

Water scarcity is here to stay, but we can benefit from taking the right action

My garden is looking terrible, this drought and the current water restrictions have really taken their toll. The lawn is straw-yellow and the majority of the shrubs are wilting. Some of the young trees are thread-bare and vast areas are now barren as the smaller plants have died.

The drought and water restrictions imposed on us have certainly contributed to the state of affairs, but they cannot be blamed entirely. I am responsible, because despite being a landscaper, I have not dedicated enough time to managing and planning my own garden. Like just about everyone else, I am so busy working that I neglect it. I never consider adding it to my work-load and I certainly don’t feel like making it a part of my leisure time.

Watering used to be a fun past-time, but alas, those days are over now. The 2015/16 El Nino weather phenomenon was the strongest in recorded history. It raised world temperatures to record highs. Now it is well in retreat and this hopefully means that the South African drought that usually accompanies it will soon give way to normal rainfall.

Although, having said that, I think that all of us have to realize that the supply and the cost of our water are going to be problematic for a very long time to come. Our country suffers from cyclical drought, mostly linked to the El Nino effect and this makes us a water scarce country. The discourse around global warming still leans heavily toward the increasing of these drought conditions around the world.

Does our government need to build more dams? Is our water infrastructure and development being managed properly for future generations? All our cities, including Cape Town will grow exponentially in population during the next decade and our water supply and containment so far is not keeping up with this trend.

This means that we will likely be straddled with expensive water from now on. Even if the winters return to normal and the dams fill up we simply cannot continue as normal.

Start planning for a water scarce urban landscape:

There is no benefit to be gained from the savings made in water conservation if our gardens and parks are left decimated, dry and unwelcoming. I cannot stand to see my own garden looking the way it does. If I am going to take water scarcity seriously then I have to re-develop my garden into one that is both satisfying for me and the environment.

By choosing to invest in clean, renewable energy over dirty coal and dangerous nuclear we are making the smart investment choice for the future.

We will make the same choice when we invest our money in a properly planned, manageable and water-conscious garden environment. This will increase both the value of our individual properties and even the appeal of the surrounding neighbourhood. An example of this being that an unmanaged and messy verge or public park can negatively influence the perception that people have of an area. A tidy, easily and well managed park or verge has the opposite effect, raising the status of the same area.

If we can enjoy our beautiful garden environment in the middle of a scorching drought, knowing that we are saving water and money in water tariffs then we have surely added value to our lives and our environment. After all what else can we do

Start planning to re-develop for a water scarce garden now as the water wise planting season is from March to August.

More on this to follow….