If every citizen plays their part to save water, the country will be able to avert water shedding, says Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
“Water users must do whatever is necessary to ensure that water is conserved. There will not be a need for water shedding if water consumers adhered to calls to save water,” said Sisulu at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Monday.
The Minister said South Africa is a water scarce country and unless citizens change their behaviour to conserve water, the country is going to reach a point of water stress.
Sisulu’s briefing at Rand Water in Glenvista, Johannesburg, comes as a heatwave continues to intermittently grip the country due to a shortage of rainfall. This has forced a number of municipalities to implement water restrictions.
Sisulu said climate change is a reality and that South Africa is one of the countries feeling the effects of the phenomenon.
While acknowledging that the situation is very serious, the Minister stressed that there’s no need to panic at this stage, provided that “all water users take collective action to save water”.
“I’ve been informed by my advisors that the earliest we can expect rain is December… so we are in for a long dry season. Gauteng is not alone. There are other provinces like the Eastern Cape in particular and Limpopo, including large municipalities and numerous smaller towns that have water restrictions in place.
“The reliable supply of water at an acceptable quantity and quality is essential for the future development in South Africa. Global water stress surveys place us as high on the list, as we are experiencing what we call water stress. We have to really begin to disaster-proof South Africa and South Africa’s security water,” the Minister said.
Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai said the country needs to reduce national consumption from 5 000 megalitres per day to the required 4 400 megalitres per day.
“If you have to water your garden, do it before sunrise or after sunset. Use water sparingly and use it for what it is intended. Reduce the amount of time you take to shower… two minutes is more than enough. Every drop counts,” Mosai said.
Mosai said water restrictions might be relaxed where they are in effect if the country goes back to an average water consumption of 4 400 megalitres per day.
Meanwhile, the department will in November unveil the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan, which will include measures to address water challenges across the country.
The plan intends to guide the water sector in investment planning for the development of water resources and the delivery of water and sanitation services towards 2030 and beyond.