The best husband ever, was traveling in northern Italy last week. One sentence from what he told me stuck with me: “The rivers have almost no water, it’s all very, very dry.” Freshwater scarcity – an issue that will probably become more and more pressing in the future. But it’s also an issue that has been known for some time. As early as 1993, a World Water Day was established with the main goal of drawing attention to the importance of freshwater and calling for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Also, there was already the International Year of Water Cooperation in 2013. Its main objective was to raise awareness both of the potential for increased international cooperation and of the challenges facing water management in the face of rising global demand for water access, distribution and services.
The exceptional stamps I have chosen have now been issued to mark this very occasion. They date from 2013 and come from South Africa. The self-adhesive stamps, which were issued on March 20, 2013, are – except for the water drop shape, which was used here for the first time worldwide – at the first glance not unusual – their special arrangement on a mini-block, however, is. This consists of two circular discs, with two openings punched out in the upper disc, in which a single stamp can be seen at the upper end and the information belonging to the stamp opposite. This information indicates sustainable use of water in the area of use depicted on the stamp.
The individual stamps and their associated information are listed below.
Clean drinking water is a valuable resource and essential for human health. Purifying tap water is an expensive process; therefore, it is important to properly close faucets after use to prevent water loss. Shallow baths and short showers also use less water.
Water is essential for irrigation and growing food. South Africa’s water resources are limited and should be used sparingly. One way to do this is to irrigate at night to avoid water loss through evaporation, or to install a drip irrigation system.
Using wind turbines to generate electricity has significant environmental benefits compared to the traditional method of burning fossil fuels, which requires a lot of water to cool the generators. Like all man-made things, wind turbines impact bat and bird species, but they stand out as water-efficient sources of electricity because they use very little water.
Working for Water Program
The South African government launched the Working for Water program to help fight invasive alien plants. Invasive alien trees have been removed because they waste enormous amounts of water. Here, a formerly unemployed worker is seen removing alien trees from a riverbank.
The Clanwilliam redfin (Barbuscalidus) is one of South Africa’s many small fish species found nowhere else. It is severely threatened by water withdrawals for agriculture, industry, pollution, urban consumption, and non-native perch and trout. The Mauve Bluet damselfly (Proischnurapolychromatica) pictured here, thought to be extinct, was rediscovered after invasive alien plants and trees were removed from the riverbanks.