版權歸屬 國際河網IRN，環境信託基金會（陶俊 譯，李傑、張正慈 審校）
In the past 40 years, Southern African nations have increased water and power supply by more than fivefold. The development of most of this capacity followed the traditional engineering and supply approach - in other words, building large dams and power plants. Alternatives were seldom considered. In fact, such alternatives used to be discounted as experimental concepts that couldn't meet the demands of the "real world." But in the past decade or so, alternatives to traditional water and energy supply approaches have proved themselves in real-world applications around the globe. The following section describes the many alternatives now being practiced in energy and water supply which can help human society flourish without undermining the integrity of the ecological systems we depend on.
Conservation and Demand Management
Conservation can save a huge amount of water and power before it is even used - and money, too, since it prevents the need for building expensive large-scale projects. An entire field of expertise that focuses on conservation and efficiency measures, called "demand management," has arisen to develop effective ways to conserve both power and water. Demand management treats the volume and pattern of water- or power-consumption as variable, and aims to change the behaviour of consumers either voluntarily (prices, education) or involuntarily (regulations, policies). Demand management has many benefits to society besides reducing wasteful use of water and power. Such measures can reduce pollution and environmental damage, create more jobs than building new water and power plants would, save money (and thus free up funds to help bring water or power to the poor), and pose less economic, environmental and social risk to society than large-scale infrastructure projects.
It seems logical that securing "new" supplies of water and power through the conservation of existing resources should always be considered first. Yet only recently has this approach drawn much official interest in the region. Although conservation and efficiency measures are being used more often in Southern Africa, civil society can play a major role in pressing to ensure that demand management is explored first when water or power needs increase, and that it is given a full analysis as a legitimate alternative. Too often, such measures have been seen as a way to merely supplement the output of large development schemes rather than replace them. (See "Rethinking the Planning Process," page 24.)
Demand-management plans may include a number of tactics, including the following:
▲Offering rebates - to consumers for purchasing efficient equipment and to manufacturers for designing and producing it;
▲Managing power or water supply to increase efficiency;
▲Educating consumers about conservation and efficiency measures available to them;
▲Offering training programmes for the building trades to ensure that efficient equipment is properly installed and maintained (this is primarily true for energy efficiency improvements), and
▲Improving efficiency on the supply-side, such as reducing losses through the distribution system.
It is important to remember that the cost of efficiency measures and the ease with which they can be implemented will vary greatly from place to place.