There is no need for citizens to be alarmed over South Africa’s water scarcity, as a total water outage will not happen in the near future, assures Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu.
While there are water scarcity concerns in different parts of the country, South Africa will not run out of water, he says, pointing out that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is working towards ensuring water security.
“I can state, categorically, that we do not have an immediate threat of water outage. However, this does not mean we are not a water scarce country, and that people should not use water sparingly.
"We do not have an immediate water crisis so to say, but we should not lower our guard,” Mchunu told delegates during the Water Institute of Southern Africa Biennial Conference and Exhibition.
While calling for prudent water use by all water users, he highlighted the work and interventions the DWS was undertaking in water-strained communities such as the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan.
However, private partnerships are needed to strengthen efforts toward realising a water-secure country.
“There is a need to increase participation of private sector partnerships through finance and skills enrichment in the water sector. Besides this, we are strengthening our role in regulating, supporting and intervening in municipalities where municipal water and sanitation services are deteriorating, linked to the reinstatement of Blue, Green and No Drop regulatory monitoring tools,” he says.
DWS is also prioritising hands-on monitoring of progress with all major projects which have been historically delayed, including the Giyani water project, the Vaal River intervention project, Hammanskraal water quality concerns as well as the Umzimvubu and uMkhomazi water projects, besides others.
“The department is ensuring planning of projects in financial years before they are to be implemented, so that they are ready for implementation when the financial year starts. We have also developed an Infrastructure Procurement Strategy in line with the National Treasury Framework for Infrastructure Delivery and Procurement Management. This is done to enable smarter, quicker and more effective infrastructure procurement and we will be implementing the strategy over the coming months,” he concludes.