Govt aims to plug water leaks

2012-08-27 19:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Government is pinning hope on its ability to plug leaking pipes, reduce pollution and "stretch" resources to stave off a looming fresh water crisis.

"We don't want development to be held back by a lack of water, or lack of access to water," water affairs acting deputy director-general for regulation, Helgard Muller, told reporters in Pretoria on Monday.

Speaking at a media briefing following the gazetting of the draft second National Water Resources Strategy (NWRS), he said this was one of the key aims behind the plan, which was open for public comment over the next 90 days.

The new NWRS was recently approved by Cabinet. It lays out a strategy for water resources management over the next 20 years, with a particular focus on the period 2013-17.

Muller said water planning and implementation needed to be done in time so that South Africa's growth and development was not hampered.

If all sectors worked together, "we can actually prevent such an event".

This would include "stretching what we have", including the use of more groundwater, the re-use of effluent, desalination, and achieving greater efficiencies.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa earlier said a new study showed the funding needed over the next 10 years for new water infrastructure was now R670bn, up from the estimate of R573bn she gave earlier this year.

"The funding gap is R338bn over this [10-year] period," she said.

New tariff policy

Responding to a question, she said "various mechanisms" were being looked at to raise the money.

"We're not saying it will all come from the fiscus now; we're looking... at various other mechanisms where there are funds that are not necessarily adequately and properly used, so we can re-channel these."

Molewa said her department was also working on a new tariff policy.

"It is highly likely that if we do our billing systems and water metering properly, billing the right people... we will realise income that will not [make it necessary] to have lesser (sic) people paying more for their water."

There might, however, be a need for cross-subsidisation.

"It is possible also that as we think through these things, there would be a need to consider some possible cross-subsidisation... in areas where people are not able to afford [water]."

The minister said stopping water losses - including unaccounted for water and that lost through leaking pipes - was a priority for her department.

According to the NWRS, both the agricultural sector (which uses about 60% of the country's available water) and municipalities (which consume about 27%) are losing up to half and more of the water they receive.

"In municipalities, non-revenue water sits at more than 37% on average, although it is not measured in many municipalities where losses are estimated to be close to 50%. In many irrigation and domestic schemes it is worse, with losses of up to 60%.

10bn m³

"In terms of loss in revenue, these losses account for more than R11bn a year in the municipal sector alone."

The document says about 10bn m³ of water are available in South Africa annually.

On the inefficient use of irrigation water by farmers, Molewa suggested massive adaptation was needed.

This meant, for example, changing mechanisms - such as centre pivot irrigation systems - to drip irrigation methods.

"We know this is an expensive exercise, but we need to move in that direction... It's a dire necessity to ensure we don't have the water losses we have," she said.

Molewa also noted that a "high level of money" was being spent by her department on cleaning polluted water.

"Our country is experiencing significant water quality challenges... In addition, our water ecosystems are not in a healthy state. Of the 223 river ecosystem types, 60% are threatened, with 25% of these critically endangered."

She said preventing such pollution would cut the "high level" cost of cleaning the water to make it fit for consumption.

Major contributors to the deteriorating water quality included the mining sector, industry and agriculture, as well as urban development.

Water risk

On bridging the R338bn funding gap over the next decade, she said sources being looked at included the municipal infrastructure grants, the state-owned Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, and off-budget and private sector funding.

"That's where we think... we will be able to bridge this gap, even if we might not be able to close it tightly," she said.

According to the NWRS South Africa's past 16 years of above-average rainfall was a period that might be drawing to a close.

"This trend is unlikely to continue."

It further warns of the water risk facing the country's economy.

"Water risk to business is real. Companies across several industry sectors should start to take the lead in quantifying their exposure to water risk, and should develop plans to mitigate these risks," it advises.

The NWRS notes that while South Africa has world-class water-management legislation, implementation of this "has been slow".

The country is ranked the 30th driest in the world.

- SAPA
Read more on:    edna molewa  |  economy  |  water
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Learn some great skills that will help your riding on the road and on the track.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips on how to set your fitness goals
This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.