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Cape Town Sports Hit Hard By Water Crisis

GreenSportsBlog
Lew Blaustein

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The pitch at the usually lush Hamilton Rugby Club ground, Stephan Oval, in Green Point (Photo credit: IOL News)

Cape Town, South Africa’s largest city with a population about the size of Los Angeles, is facing a catastrophic water crisis. Authorities have sounded the alarm that as soon as June 4 — ominously referred to as “Day Zero” — the drought-stricken city will have to cut off the taps to all homes and most businesses, leaving nearly all of the city’s 3.7 million residents without access to clean running water. How will the water crisis impact the city’s sports teams and events?

Cape Town, South Africa is a sports-mad city.

Rugby, soccer, cricket, cycling, and more have passionate followings among many of the “Mother City’s” 3.7 million residents.

But with June 4 expected to be the day the city runs out of clean, running water — considered to be the case when water levels in dams reach 13.5 percent — sports will find itself in an unfamiliar, yet wholly justifiable position: The back burner.

Before we get into how Cape Town’s sports teams and events are reacting to and are affected by the water crisis, let’s take a quick look at how the city got to this point.

NO WATER IN CAPE TOWN? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

According to numerous reports from experts, for the last decade or more, Cape Town’s authorities have been forward thinkers and actors on water conservation. Writing in the February 9 issue of Vox.com, Zeeshan Alleem asserted that the city “worked hard to fix leaks in the pipes that distribute water across the city….Leaky pipes account for between 30 and 40 percent of a city’s lost water…Cape Town has reduced the amount of water it loses through leaks to about half of that. And in 2015…Cape Town even won a prestigious international award for its water conservation policies.”

Despite these successes and others, dams that were completely full just a few years ago now stand at about a quarter capacity and Day Zero is less than four months away. How did this happen?

The main culprits are a once-in-a-century, three-year drought, along with a dangerous lack of water supply diversification — Cape Town gets more than 99 percent of its water supply from dams that rely solely on rain; underground aquifers and desalination are not part of the mix. And, as University of Cape Town hydrologist Piotr Wolski told Laura Poppick in the February 13 edition of Smithsonian.com, climate change is serving as a crucial accelerant.

Read the full story.

Sailors for the Sea and Oceana Plan to Join Forces

Sailors for the Sea

David Rockefeller Jr, joins Oceana’s board, Sailors for the Sea board to join Oceana’s Ocean Council

Oceana will continue to build constituency for the seas among 12 million recreational boaters

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NEWPORT, RI and WASHINGTON, DC –  Sailors for the Sea, the leading ocean conservation organization that engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing and boating community, and Oceana, the world’s largest international conservation organization focused solely on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, announced today they are joining forces.

“Our board, staff and all of us are so pleased to be joining Oceana’s team, “said Sailors for the Sea co-founder David Rockefeller, Jr. “This will strengthen our ability to help sailors and power boaters make a difference in saving the oceans they depend on.”

Oceana will continue the legacy of Sailors for the Sea through engaging the nearly 12 million strong recreational boating community on ocean conservation and will seek to unite a core constituency of sailors and boaters whose support will help win victories that will help to save the world’s oceans.

“Sailors and recreational boaters are highly credible ocean leaders,” said Oceana CEO Andrew F. Sharpless. “Sailors for the Sea will now help us reach them in in ways that will prove truly beneficial for Oceana’s conservation campaigns.”

The two entities’ boards of directors, following an effort initiated by Oceana, unanimously approved the plan to combine. Sailors for the Sea will file a petition with the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Supreme Judicial Court for approval of the combination under Massachusetts law.  In the meantime, David Rockefeller, Jr. has joined Oceana’s Board of Directors and Sailors for the Sea board members have been invited to join Oceana’s Ocean Council.

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World Rowing Federation pledges to protect UNESCO Heritage Sites

Climate Action

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Photo Source: Climate Action

The World Rowing Federation has become the first global sports body to make a commitment to protect UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

The pledge comes on the back of concerns raised by the UN body about the negative impacts of sporting events to natural and historic sites.

The decision is also a result of World Rowing’s ongoing work with the conservation charity WWF to ensure sustainable water practices are used across its global events.

The federation represents 153 different organisations, including the International Olympic Committee, to govern the sport of rowing.

World Rowing’s President Jean-Christophe Rolland, said: “As rowing is a sport that is intimately connected to nature, we recognise the importance of protecting natural sites. World Rowing hopes that other international sporting organisations will follow in committing to preserve these areas of the world”.

There are a total of 1073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rated for their significant importance to people and planet. World Rowing’s new policy will apply to the 241 sites listed under both natural and mixed. It says that the venues it currently uses “do not impact directly on World Heritage sites”, but new guidelines will enforce a commitment to prevent any indirect impacts on buffer zones.

“UNESCO welcomes this landmark decision,” said Mechtild Rössler, Director of the body’s World Heritage Centre. “We look forward to other sport federations and organizations in charge of large sports events, such as the International Olympic Committee, also taking on a similar commitment and putting such policies into practice.”

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SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
403
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
193
TEAMS
194
VENUES
16
LEAGUES