World Water Day

The students from Paulos Ngobeni Primary School learn all about water

This year, South Africa’s National Water Week celebrations (5-11 March) coincide with us hosting the United Nations World Water Day celebrations in Cape Town on the 22 March 2011.

Companies and schools are running water-awareness programmes the world-over today, to create awareness of the world’s increasing water shortage, and to highlight the need to stop water pollution. At the HESC, our focus on conservation goes further than the protection of endangered species. We are also acutely aware of environmental conservation.

The importance of water

Without water, no man, animal or plant can survive. As humans, we use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and many other daily tasks.

Although approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only about 1% of it is available as a source of drinking water. Therefore it is very important to use water sparingly.

Water has a wide variety of micro organisms living in it. According to the SASS 5 (South African Scoring System), these micro organisms/ water invertebrates are considered as ecological indicators of the quality of the type of water that is being tested. Each species has a scale of 1 – 20, illustrating sensitivity to water pollution and impurities. Therefore the cleaner the water, the more sensitive the species inhabiting it – for example, fresh water shrimps and prawns will be found in cleaner water. Should the water be polluted, the more hardy organisms will be found in it – for example, mosquito larvae and biting midges.

The children of Paulos Ngobeni Primary School visited the HESC during water week, where they did a basic SASS 5 school programme to teach them about the importance of water quality.

A student replenishes the animals’ water

The team at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center uses water for daily tasks such as


  • Cleaning the animal enclosures
  • Cleaning of equipment used when working with the animals
  • Filling up the water troughs for the animals
  • Cleaning of the Centre
  • Watering of plants

What we do to save water at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center

  • Fill up troughs early in the morning or very late in the afternoon in order to avoid evaporation
  • Only use the hosepipes in the early morning or very late afternoon when watering the plants – again, to avoid evaporation
  • Monitor the use of water when cleaning the enclosures, equipment and the centre

If we all do our bit to conserve water – and keep our dams and streams clean, there will be enough for both man and earth’s creatures for generations to come.