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Looming water disaster

Cape Town - Gauteng’s water was recently switched off because it was “so close to the edge” – and that’s just the beginning. The rest of the country is running on empty unless government spends 100 times more to secure water supply.

In more than half of the country, South Africans are using more water than what’s available. They are already using 98% of our available water supply, and 40% of our wastewater treatment is in a “critical state”.

A staggering 37% of our clean, drinkable water is being lost through inefficient ways of using water such as leaking pipes, dripping taps – and that is what’s being reported, the figure could be much higher.

A recent government report has found that a whopping R293bn needs to be spent over the next five years, otherwise South Africa faces a looming water crisis. This is 100 times more than the R2.9bn the department is expected to spend this year on water infrastructure management, Treasury estimates show.

These worrying findings in the department of water and sanitation (DWS) report emerged just weeks after Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane denied there was a crisis in the sector, blaming severe water shortages across Gauteng on a “technical glitch” and the theft of electricity cables. But experts say that the rest of the country is also already “at tipping point”.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2