SA water under pressure - department

2012-05-18 12:58
Community members celebrate the Adopt a River campaign in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Community members celebrate the Adopt a River campaign in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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

Cape Town - Water resources in South Africa are under "immense pressure" and the department wants to partner with communities to increase protection for wetlands and rivers.

"We realise that our water resources are under immense pressure from using water and from pollution impacts. We are taking various steps to improve that, even in our legislation where we make provision for the right of the natural water resource," head of the Western Cape regional office in the department of water affairs resource protection section, Wilna Kloppers, told News24.

The department is rolling out the Adopt a River programme that seeks to encourage communities to take responsibility for rivers and wetlands in the environment.

The community of Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats recently adopted the Kuils River and an intensive clean-up has improved the area around the river, but Kloppers said that government remained committed to environmental responsibility.

"The idea is that government and specific levels of government have a specific mandate and a specific responsibility and role to play."

Pollution threat

In the more affluent Muizenberg suburb, the pollution in the Zandvlei estuary has resulted in dead fish and algae blooms in the water.

CapeNature has allocated R24.5m of its budget to help protect estuaries and improve the functioning of catchment areas.

Kloppers said that while the department was committed to water resource protection, it depended on communities to be vigilant with regard to water bodies in the area.

"We want to partner with the public in general to assist us there, if they pick up things that they want to report, and the relevant departments can action. Also, [the public] should be aware of the fact that they can make a huge difference. If people are aware of the impact of waste on the water resources and their quality of life, they can cut that pollution chain, so to speak."

Many river systems are under threat through pollution, unchecked development and abstraction and the department has initiated an education component in their programme with communities in sensitive areas.

"It is to take it to a very local level; to educate people, but also for them to take responsibility to assist with water resource management," said Kloppers.

She conceded though, that there were not enough officials to monitor all water systems and that the government had initiated programmes to incentivise municipalities to improve water quality.


"The capacity will always be a challenge, but having said that, I think trying to learn from the mistakes of other countries is a good thing. We're trying to be a little bit proactive and that's where the Blue Drop and Green Drop programmes also come in to say: 'This is incentive-based'."

Water Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi warned that the gloves were off for people who stole water.

"Our Blue Scorpions are there. When they do illegal connections, people down the river don't get water and you are stealing - you are a thief - you are a criminal. When we find them, we don't negotiate - we break all those connections. We punish you for stealing our water," she said recently.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    capenature  |  rejoice mabudafhasi  |  cape town  |  environment  |  water

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

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


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 network.


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.