It was in 2002 when Johannesburg hosted the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the World Water Forum. Many discussions took place, expectations raised, hopes and dreams created for a better world, with perspectives of sustainability and global water security.
I took part in 5 lectures, where I presented our experience from Slovakia, which was viewed by „experienced professionals” in my country, as a naive idea of eco-system renewal via water retention measures. The program in Slovakia created a huge debate as to challenging the fundamentals of current water management practices not only in Slovakia but across the planet.
Back then, highest representatives of South Africa presented with great pride the project “Water for African Cities”. I entered the discussion with a remark, that it will not be enough to construct water dams in the mountains of the poor state of Lesotho, a 12 bn USD investment, but that there is also a need to ensure that all rainwater needs to be retained in damaged ecosystems as a source for water generation in dried out areas. This would gradually lead to permanent renewal of water in small water cycles, where evaporated water returns in the form of rain. As a result of my suggestion, everybody was looking at me as if I was an extra-terrestrial.
15 years have passed and in the southernmost corner of South Africa, where the beautiful Cape Town is located, it has not rained for 3 years. It is said that this is due to millennium droughts. I do not know how they came to this conclusion, but I can say with full responsibility, that this is utter nonsense.
The fact that it is raining less is a result of the devastation of South Africa, industrialization of the country which began in the 17th century. The country was progressively impacted by surface and underground mining of mineral resources, it was damaged and dried out and now we see the results. Rain came to a halt and the country may gradually dry out completely if the process of water run-off is not reversed.
I still cannot understand how it is possible, that there are thousands of professional water managers and researches studying water and climate and they struggle to capture such a tiny thing, that it only rains in places where water evaporates from the land. Where the land is dry, it does not rain. It does not rain because there is no water evaporation. This is what we call an perpetual water cycle. If you cut its veins, the water is gradually lost, just like the blood from a human body with cut veins.
Another mystery for all the water managers and climatologists is the fact that a change in distribution of precipitation, with longer periods without rain followed by a period intense torrential rains once in a while, are caused by the overheating of a dried-out landscape which prevents clouds from the sea to enter inlands. The proof of this effect can be understood on a small island in the Mediterranean, called Cyprus.
Just like in Cyprus, in Pretoria, Johannesburg and all other cities of South Africa, including Cape Town, the water is carried away from the cities. This is how the water disappears from small water cycles, cities get overheated and this creates a chain of heat islands in any part of Africa, or for that matter, other places such as America, Asia, Australia or Europe. Heat islands change atmospheric currents, causing all that water from clouds to concentrate in some places while in others it does not rain at all.
The only solution for the entire region of South Africa, just like for any other damaged parts of other continents is to mobilize all communities as soon as possible towards the change of the water paradigm. Rain is not a waste, it is a gift from the heavens, which we should return to the heavens right after utilization through evaporation, so that it could return to us again in the form of valuable rain.