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25 January 2024 Media Release: Climate innovation catches the eye of corporate finance

Media Release: Climate innovation catches the eye of corporate finance

For Immediate Release
25 January 2024

Changes in rainfall patterns, floods, and droughts brought on by climate change coupled with unreliable energy supply leave citizens with little choice but to independently adjust and look for technology options to ensure sustainability,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

As technology options bring much-needed relief in terms of water and energy supply, they become part of general asset registers and are increasingly attracting the attention of finance institutions like Nedbank, Hortfin and others who are willing to finance green energy, water conservation and circular economy initiatives.

The use of alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind, has become a permanent fixture in South Africa in recent years. Not necessarily because of a changing climate and a move away from fossil fuels, but because of the erratic and unreliable power supply caused by mismanagement, a lack of skills and planning and timeous implementation of energy alternatives by central government and SOE’s.

Over time, water resource management in South Africa also had to adapt to compensate for crumbling infrastructure and erratic supply.  Consequently, urban water harvesting, covering swimming pools, and a general reduction in water use following the dreaded Day Zero crisis in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, as well as the current challenges in Gauteng, have become common practices.

Through modern technology, South Africa has developed evaporation prevention measures for stored water reservoirs and storage dams. It will soon become more popular as global temperatures rise and evaporation rates take their toll on stored waters, and will follow the same trajectory as energy alternatives in terms of implementation.

As a result of a lack of suitable sites and catchments, timelines to build, and exorbitant construction costs, the construction of new dams for agricultural, mining, and rural and urban water development is complicated. Considering the downstream impacts of free-flowing rivers on ecosystems and river health, all measures aimed at maintaining and conserving existing water sources are critical.

Dams supplying fast-developing towns such as George and Riversdale are rapidly approaching a point where it can no longer provide adequate supply to the increased demand and alternatives must be found. Oudsthoorn on the other side, is already extracting water from an underground aquafer to augment water security.

Agricultural practitioners need to continue taking measures to significantly reduce water use to ensure that groundwater supplies do not become depleted as a result of overexploitation and consider crops that are less dependent on constant watering to maintain sustainability over time.

GREF is a public platform for conservation and environmental management entities in the Southern Cape.

Featured image caption: Pivot irrigation – Water security in South Africa pose a bigger threat to South African communities than the energy crises.