Rashida Ntotela – Cii News | 21 Muharram 1437/04 November 2015

Despite the dreary mood over the water crises in South Africa, a spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation Mr.Mlimandlela Ndamase has reassured countrymen on the prospects of water preservation noting emergency measures taken by Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and the Department to soften the impact of the crises.

“Our country is the 30th driest country in the world,” Ndamase said.

To mitigate against the repercussions of this status quo, he said, the government was spearheading a number of strategic interventions.

The spokesperson mentioned that Gauteng, unlike many global economic hubs, had no water running through it, and hence the Government took to engaging with the Lesotho Highlands Water project to meet Johannesburg’s water needs.

Ndamase suggested that with time, the project would develop the capacity to also supply the Free State and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces,  that too have been severely affected by drought.

Free State, in fact, is already a minor recipient of the project, and its share of the liquid is due to only swell with the inauguration of the second phase of the project.

Sanitation concerns

With many experts highlighting the role poorly treated wastewater has in deepening the impact of the current crisis, Ndamase said government was acutely aware of the potential hazards.

The spokesperson mentioned that it was this understanding that compelled President Zuma to take the unprecedented decision to combine the department of water with the function of sanitation “as that function had previously been allocated to the Department of Human Settlements.”

The spokesperson explained that the two factors could never be divorced.

“Where there’s sanitation there’s a need for water, and where there’s a need for water you need to ensure that your people have decent sanitation.”

With good auspices he mentioned that he is aware of the great health risk surrounding this issue and that government’s effort is to ensure that there are adequate sanitation facilities  in order to eliminate the ills of poor sanitation.

When asked about concerns for the water levels in our dams and the restrictions municipalities have put in place, Ndamase said South Africans should appreciate the necessity of immediately using water sparingly and adjusting their behavioural patterns.

“What we are referring to insofar as restrictions in South Africa, in many developed countries is a way of life and a norm”.

The spokesperson was resolute in arguing that there are no substitute for such restrictions is South Africans were serious to  protect and preserve this precious resource for the future generations.