Take care of water - department

2012-05-17 14:40

Cape Town - The department of water affairs is determined to ensure that water resources are equitably used and that communities and officials work together to protect rivers and wetlands.

"A person sells a farm to somebody; you'll find that a person owns the farm, but you don't own the water. Some still have that water allocation, but they're not using the water," deputy minister of water affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, told News24.

Water allocations are a contentious issue in SA because it is a scarce resource and the agricultural sector currently consumes about 62%.

On Wednesday, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, told Parliament that the government was pushing ahead with plans to create "water equity".

The department is considering limiting water entitlements that can currently be sold or traded.


"You are not occupying that land; that water must be transferred to someone who is able to use it," said Mabudafhasi.

She was speaking at the launch of a community project initiated by the department called "Adopt a River" where the Khayelitsha residents on the Cape Flats cleaned the Kuils River.

The project aimed to encourage communities to limit waste and pollution around sensitive water areas that would allow for sustainable development.

"Those ecosystems are the ones that are able to sustain this community and there are certain types of vegetables that they can grow along these wetlands," Mabudafhasi said.

She said that small farmers were finding the lack of water resources particularly challenging and the department was committed to assisting them.

"We have a challenge of our smaller farmers who are coming up now, whom we are supporting but they don't have water. They can get the water that is not being used. We need to bridge that gap."

Water abstraction remains a significant problem in SA and up to 30% to 40% of water is lost through this theft in some municipalities.

Mabudafhasi said the department was determined to tackle the problem.

"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 [will] punish you for stealing our water."

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  • Johnny - 2012-05-17 15:05

    Department of Water - Also do something about the 100's of mines contaminating our water sources.

  • Martin - 2012-05-17 16:09

    someone should tell that double wide that we do pay for city parks to do that job, morally i will clean up where i live, but not in sa, not at the moment, there is a service being paid for and not being done. il clean but then i withold tax. and no water e-toll

      Judith - 2012-05-17 16:21

      Each one of is responsible for our environment. If you want to live in a rubbish dump - that's your choice. I pick up and encourage others to do so

      JHNortje - 2012-05-18 09:04

      It all depends on the municipality in your area. Here in CT I've seen a couple of times this year where municipality workers have not just keep our river clean but also protects die indigenous plants. But I do disagree with you in that it’s every South Africans responsibility to keep our country beautiful.

  • Judith - 2012-05-17 16:20

    Waste water works infrastructure; fresh water infrastructure - two of the main sources of water pollution and water loss. Industrial pollution running freely into out rivers, adding to the pollution load - no action being taken and no fines being imposed

  • ian.d.samson - 2012-05-17 16:40

    What a JOKE! How many taps are dripping in informal settlements? How many public toilets run water continuously without ever being fixed?

  • Rob - 2012-05-17 17:44

    Not so long ago whilst travelling from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe to Holiday at the South Coast, we used to stop at 'lay buys' at the side of the road In South Africa and enjoy a Picnic. We used to drink the crystal clear water straight from the streams. Oh, and we didn't have to worry about being murdered whilst doing so...

  • BeautyNghonyama2 - 2012-05-18 09:04

    Often times we take for granted the importance of water. Please let us save water. Saving water and electricity is a cause that is very close to my heart.

  • Alf - 2012-06-02 16:58

    WATER EQUITY - that's a new one! Our waterbaby obviously does not go around municipalities very often, to see how water is managed. Go talk to the Emfuleni Municipality to find out how long it takes to fix a waterleak. I waited for 3 months and was told by some municipal twit not to worry about the water! Eventually I complained to the National Department of Wateraffairs in Pta. and it got fixed. But the suspicion is it only happened because it was close to election time and they were fishing for votes! Water Equity - what a joke!

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-08-24 08:35

    the government should concentrate on removing all the squatter camps from rivers/dams/streams because that is where huge contamination of water takes place. Instead they eye "re-distribution of water" This means taking water from the haves and give it to the have nots. So all the nice neighbourhoods wont have water while the squatter camps will have an abundance of water. That's what the ANC has in mind!

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