Affordable access to electricity and water has become a new frontier for potential conflict.

During September 2013 in the city of Cape Town, 4135 electricity and 8312 water warning letters were delivered. Also 2030 water supplies were restricted and 29 water and 1229 electricity supplies were disconnected. A total of R24 917 428 was written off as bad debts. Ironically, unpaid accounts for municipal rates and services from council officials exceeded R9 million.

Since Cape Town is fast running low on water and electricity, to save water the city has embarked on some interesting strategies. The installation of water meters is definably a stroke of genius. With the installation of a water meter at the cities expense, all unpaid municipal arrears could be written-off. This allows the user 350 liters of free water per day and if this is insufficient you are allowed to re-negotiate for more water, provided you are able to pay.

Although the city is able to monitor the proper use of water and minimize wastage, it may not be enough. Inevitably with rapid urbanization and relentless foreign migration, Cape Town will eventually run short of water. Changing weather patterns and a lack of catchment areas compels city leaders to enforce water saving strategies. The notions of saving water compel all leaders {political, social and religious} to encourage all communities to reflect the manner in which they consider and use water.

According to some religious scholars, every drop of water that lands on the earth is carried by an angel; this is a reflection of how important water is. Water is life and the fact that all forms of life are composed primarily of water is indicative of that fact.

According to Theodore Roosevelt “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” While we are all dissatisfied with the persistent increase in the cost of water, with limited quantities of clean water, Cape Town leaders have little choice. To ensure sustainability, we all need to begin with the viable use of water.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress