World Water Day 2024 – Groundwater: Our Most Valuable Hidden Resource

hands holding the earth with a tap and water

World Water Day 2024 – Groundwater: Our Most Valuable Hidden Resource

Contributed by Ockie Scholtz, Geohydrologist, and Anina Steyn, Lab Technician

World Water Day on 22 March raises awareness and inspires action to tackle the global water and sanitation crisis. In our blog, we’ll be diving into the essence of World Water Day with the crucial theme of “Groundwater: Our Most Valuable Hidden Resource.”

Groundwater: Our Most Valuable Hidden Resource

Groundwater is our most important freshwater resource. Groundwater provides 49% of the water withdrawn for domestic use by the global population. Around 43% of all water withdrawn is for irrigation. As a common-pool resource with open access, groundwater has historically been undervalued, overexploited, and mismanaged.  A hidden risk that is becoming more visible comes from deteriorating groundwater quality because of rapidly expanding urban areas, mine pollution and inadequate agricultural practices. This quality risk presents a growing threat to groundwater sustainability and the benefits it bestows.

Water is life, by understanding it, we can all help to protect and manage it sustainably.

Shangoni’s Commitment to Water Quality Monitoring: A Path to Sustainability

Shangoni recognises the urgency of water quality preservation and is invested in the future of water. As such, we have been proactive in initiating our own laboratory to monitor and measure water quality accurately.

What does water quality testing entail?

Usually, Ph, TDS, DO and Conductivity is tested.

The Ph is tested to indicate whether the water is more alkaline or acidic. The range 6.5-8.5 is normal. Below 6.5 it becomes a health risk. Because it is corrosive, it causes metals to leach from pipes. Above 8.5 does not pose a health risk, but it does cause scale build-up that damages appliances.

TDS is self-explanatory. Total Dissolved Solids are tested to indicate how many minerals, salts and metals are dissolved in the water. When the Total Dissolved Solids are very high, it causes irritation of your stomach and intestines, as well as the taste and appearance can be off-putting.

DO is the Dissolved Oxygen, which is tested to determine how much oxygen the water source contains. If the oxygen is high in a water source, it is a healthy environment for aquatic life.

Conductivity is the measuring of the water’s ability to conduct electricity. This is another means of expressing the presence of dissolved salts in the water.

Why is it important to monitor water quality?

All of the above methods are used to help determine whether the water is suitable for human and animal consumption, as well as for sustaining aquatic life. It helps us know whether the source of water is in a healthy condition. Monitoring significant changes in these ranges can also determine the presence of pollutants. This in turn helps to determine which cause of action or treatment can be implemented to prevent or mitigate the environmental impact.

Together, we can forge a path towards a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.

In closing, as we reflect on the significance of World Water Day and the paramount importance of safeguarding our precious water resources, it’s clear that proactive measures are essential in ensuring a sustainable future.

At Shangoni, are committed to mitigating environmental impact and preserving the beauty of our planet. Through our dedication to water quality monitoring and preservation, we live out our values of being stewards of the environment, playing our part in the collective responsibility we all share in protecting our natural resources.