Keep saving water, urges water dept

2016-11-21 16:30
Vaal Dam sluices. Picture: Yandisa Monakali

Vaal Dam sluices. Picture: Yandisa Monakali

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Johannesburg - Gauteng residents must carry on saving water, even though dam levels are inching up in the parched province, the Department of Water and Sanitation said on Monday.

“We are still in a drought,” spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.

“People must still continue to behave as though there is no water. They can't start relaxing.”

This was after water was released from the Sterkfontein Dam on November 7, and heavy rain pushed the level of the Vaal Dam up to an encouraging 32.1%.

Downpours caused flash floods in Gauteng on November 9. Six people drowned in Johannesburg and Ekhurhuleni.

Gauteng is among the provinces bearing the brunt of a drought in southern Africa.

In September 2015, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said of the 1.4 million households in Johannesburg, only 8 000 had water interruptions.

In October last year, the City of Johannesburg said the Vaal Dam was dipping below 30%. Extra water restrictions were introduced to reduce consumption by 15%.

The Vaal Dam system supplies water to Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga, and the Free State. Mogale City, on the West Rand, is also one of its consumers.

The release of the water from the Sterkfontein dam was expected to bring some respite to Gauteng.

Government to blame

Meanwhile, water specialist, Dr Anthony Turton blamed the government for the current water shortages.

At an SA Institute of Race Relations conference in Johannesburg last Tuesday, Turton said his frequent and repeated warnings that the country's water management policies were inadequate had been ignored.

“People don't realise Johannesburg was within a week or so of having no more water. That is as close as you can get to a near miss.”

According to his research, the country's monitoring and prediction systems were at 1920s level, and its policies are stuck in the 1960s.

“The blame for this failure should be placed squarely on the government’s shoulders, because it has prioritised political and economic transformation over the retention of technocratic skills.”

Turton said that ultimately, South Africa's poor would suffer the most if water ran out.


Read more on:    rand water  |  johannesburg  |  water

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