Did you know that the Vaal River is about 180million years old?

This little ‘vaal’ river is actually an old man river. Scientists and academics calculate the date of the river’s origin at about 180 million years! It probably originated due to the shifting of the tectonic plates which divided Godwana Land into two continents.

Did you know that it is in your power and my power to destroy this river during our generation?

We can kill this river that originated millions of years ago.

Why would we do that? Mainly because of our callous attitude towards this fresh water resource – we do not value it and we do not respect it. All of us are complicit in the demise of the Vaal – no use pointing fingers – we are all guilty if we do not get involved.

The culprits are:

Even if you are sure that you do not litter and your plumbing and sewage systems are not discharging into the river, if you are not actively involved in conserving and saving the river in some way, you are also part of the problem.

What can you do?

  • Civil organisations in this country are very effective in bringing about change, so you can join and help these pressure groups that have formed to help the river.
  • Like minded groups should stand up and they should defy municipalities that pollute the river.
  • We should demand that specific people be brought to book. Make them explain their behaviour publicly.
  • Regarding the river we should campaign for coalition and collaboration between communities, government, companies and industry.
  • We should demand and insist that this river system be managed by people with strong scientific backgrounds, experience and expertise.
  • Business could get involved in campaigns about the value of our rivers.
  • We can help educate society about the difference between use and abuse, between ownership and custodianship and about respect.

You can make your voice heard.

Soon it will be a luxury to have flowing water.

Action groups:

  • Newly formed Vaal Action Group. Telephone : 084-2692493 (Coordinator), 082-4952957 (Chairperson)
  • Afriforum.   https://www.afriforum.co.za/tag/water-english/
  • SAVE The Vaal:   http://www.save.org.za/ , https://www.facebook.com/savethevaal/
  • OUTA:   https://www.outa.co.za/water-environment/
  • VEJA:  http://vaalenvironmentalnews.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-is-vaal-environmental-justice.html,
  • https://www.facebook.com/Vaal-Environmental-Justice-Alliance-VEJA-322703054542182/
  • Human Rights Commission: https://www.sahrc.org.za/

I also received the following suggestions from professor Johann Tempelhoff,  (North-West University) :

‘By using our water with great care, we help to reduce the flow of water into wastewater treatment works. That eases the vast amounts of water that have to be purified.

When Cape Town’ water crisis started in 2016, the residents’ per capita daily consumption was about 229 litres per capita per day.

Once the authorities introduced severe water restrictions the city residents comfortably got by with about 87 litres per person in a household of four.

At the peak of Cape Town’s crisis they consumed 50 litres per person per day.

If we look at the future South African water scenario in the era of climate change, we will have to start getting used to a) re-using water; b) consuming re-cycled wastewater for gardening and washing the paving around the homes; and c) reduce our wasteful consumption of drinking water for e.g. flishing toilets.

Indications are that the cost of water will only be increasing in future and we will have to start treating this vital resource with far more respect.

For the average household to start a water-saving project could be a fascinating family initiative of living in an environmentally friendly manner.

Remember: There is no Planet B. (Water is a vital life-giving resource on our planet)’.

Johann WN Tempelhoff
Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6849-4938 
South African Water History Archival Repository (SAWHAR)
School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities
North-West University (NWU) 

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