From DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – AFRICA’S largest power, energy and water trade summit will not be cancelled despite the severe water shortages in Cape Town, South Africa.
Set for May 15-17, the event organised by Spintelligent, the Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organizer, will in fact focus strongly on meeting the continent’s water demands.
“We wish to assure our partners, exhibitors, sponsors, delegates, visitors and speakers that African Utility Week will go ahead as planned,” says Evan Schiff, the event director.
Schiff says visitors to Cape Town will have access to all their water needs for drinking and personal hygiene.
“At no stage are these requirements under threat, with drinking water being provided either through Municipal supply or bottled water is readily available. There is also no need to feel that you as a visitor will be putting the system under additional strain.”
Schiff says all official African Utility Week partner hotels, and most hotels throughout the city, have instituted water savings measures and communication campaigns to reduce, or completely remove, pressure on the municipal supply.
He argues by holding the event, African Utility Week will continue to support the Cape Town economy.
“We cannot allow for there to be massive job losses on top of a water constrained situation.”
Cape Town and the Western Cape are currently experiencing below average rainfall. Cape Town, along with most of South Africa, is a water scarce area, and after three years of sustained low rainfall the bulk water supply cannot keep up with demand.
African Utility Week will showcase how partnerships, financial models and latest technological advances can make the greatest impact in meeting Africa’s water demand.
Gerardt Viljoen, Managing Director of Sensus SA and GM for Sensus in Africa, an event sponsor, says the water situation in South Africa is worrisome and should be considered as the top priority for any form of economic sustainability.
Thus, the increasing storing capabilities, reviewing traditional catchment areas and weather pattern changes, recycling of water and waste water treatment, network infrastructure maintenance and demand side management should all be top priorities.
“We want utilities to start thinking out of the box on water solutions, capabilities and solutions,” Viljoen says.
– CAJ News