Water department to fast track Western Cape schemes to beat 'day zero'

5th October 2017 By: News24Wire

Water department to fast track Western Cape schemes to beat 'day zero'

Photo by: Bloomberg

Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane met with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on Wednesday to discuss efforts to avoid "day zero" during the current drought.

Mokonyane urged De Lille and Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell to address water losses due to leaks to further prevent unnecessary water losses.

The city has targeted a daily use of 500 mega litres (ML), but is currently at 618 ML a day.

"The increased exploration of groundwater resources and the re-use of water are amongst the solutions we are talking to," Mokonyane said in a statement on Wednesday.

The department will be fast tracking the implementation of the Berg River/Voelvlei augmentation scheme and is targeting a completion date by the winter of 2019, she said.

"Similarly, plans are afoot to commence with work on the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall as a matter of urgency."

The ministry said it was concerned that illegal connections and dams were emerging in farm areas, which is being handled by the Green Scorpions.

The department is also expediting water use licence applications.

Mokonyane and her delegation were still due to appear before Parliament on Wednesday to account for its poor expenditure patterns in 2016/17.

The department has previously been slammed by both the portfolio committee on water and the standing committee on public accounts for having a combined debt and accruals upwards of R5-billon.

Mokonyane also suspended her director general in July under vague circumstances, and two deputy directors general. She also disbanded the leadership of two provincial water boards, entities that implement projects on behalf of the department.