Better use of irrigation technology geared towards water use efficiency could save millions of cubic metres of water in the agricultural sector in South Africa and contribute to water security, says the Strategic Water Partners Network South Africa (SWPN-SA). As the biggest user of fresh water, the agricultural sector accounts for 60% of the total annual water demand in the country. In view of its significant demand, agricultural and supply chain water management has been a key strategic work area of the SWPN-SA, a public-private civil society sector partnership that has aimed at improving the future security of South Africa’s water since its inception in 2011.
The SWPN has supported projects such as the roll-out of the Water Administration System (WAS), a water management tool for irrigation schemes to help manage their water usage, water distribution and water accounts. The initiative aims to minimise water losses on irrigation schemes that distribute water through canal networks. It has been rolled out in four irrigation schemes including Hartbeespoort Irrigation Board, Vaalharts, Orange-Riet and Sand-Vet Water User Association. Preliminary results obtained for three of the four schemes supported indicate a combined reduction in water losses of nearly one million cubic metres a week.
During periods of drought, the need for efficient, effective irrigation systems becomes all the more critical. “The R1bn allocation in this year’s budget for drought relief is a welcome move,” says SWPN spokesperson, Zama Siqalaba. “By developing mechanisms that address aging and inefficient water infrastructure, as well as unlocking funding for irrigation scheme upgrades and transformation, solutions to water shortages can be found.” To read more, click HERE.
Published on Mon, 14th Mar 2016 - 13:41