This year, National Water Week takes place from Monday, 17 March until Sunday, 23 March 2014. The National Department of Water Affairs have released the following key messages.
Water is a scarce resource – let us work together to conserve it!
Water scarcity is a global challenge that effects many regions in the world with Southern Africa being the hardest hit.
South Africa is a water scarce country, ranked the 30th driest country in the world with annual rainfall levels about half the world average.
In many parts of the country we have either reached or are fast approaching the point at which all viable freshwater resources will be fully utilised.
Every South African needs to take immediate measures to preserve and save water so that we do not face a future water crisis.
We all have a part in conserving water and reducing demand for the good of the country’s resources and to preserve a legacy for future generations.
Government can’t do it alone
- Water conservation begins with each one of us; there needs to be a change in attitude and behavior to use water more wisely in our daily activities.
- Efficient water use ensures a reliable supply, which in turn improves the quality of life of all South Africans, and promotes local economic development.
- Take action and report all water leaks on your property or in your area to your local municipality for assistance.
- Report unlawful usage of water, dumping of agricultural, industrial and sewerage waste in rivers to our compliance monitoring and enforcement unit the “Blue Scorpions”.
- Our water infrastructure belongs to all of us and we must not allow it to be vandalised or uncared for as we depend on it for a vital services.
- Government calls on all stakeholders to come together in a collective effort to conserve water in order for it to have a greater impact.
- Municipal councilors are encouraged to engage communities on planned water disruptions and maintenance.
The provision of water a key priority
- Since 1994 government has been hard at work ensuring that all South Africans have access to water.
- Government is committed to continue to roll out its interventions to ensure the universal access of water.
- In 1994, only 59% of our people had access to clean and safe drinking water, by 2013 we had progressed to a national average of 95.2%.
- Government has a 10-year plan to address the water access backlog.
Water challenges still persist in some areas
- Being a water scarce country and coupled with infrastructure and maintenance challenges means that in some areas the provision of water continues to remain a challenge.
- Ageing and malfunctioning infrastructure which is compounded by vandalism poses a serious problem.
- Lack of engineering skills prevents proper maintenance of our water infrastructure.
- Our water quality is negatively affected by pollution.
- Seasonal droughts impact on amount of water available.
Our plans are supported by the building of sustainable water infrastructure. Through Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP) 18 South Africa has a 10 year plan to address the estimated backlog of adequate water supply to 1.4 million households and 2.1 million households to basic sanitation.
Our water projects will provide new infrastructure, rehabilitation and upgrading of existing ones, as well as improve water management infrastructure.
In expanding our water supply the following projects where recently launched:
- The MooiMgeni Transfer Scheme 2 (MMTS-2) which includes the Spring Grove Dam in KwaZulu-Natal which will boost declining water supply in the area and benefit approximately 5 million people.
- The newly constructed De Hoop Dam in Limpopo economically supplies water to towns and poorly serviced communities in the Greater Sekhukhune, Waterberg and Capricorn district municipalities.
Check out this year’s events on the official website.