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January 2021 edition

Citizens need clean water and savvy sanitation

Written by Amukelani Chauke
Tabling the Department of Water and Sanitation Budget Vote in Parliament recently, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said the department is introducing no-flush toilets to communities.

While the new no-flush initiative would go a long way towards restoring the dignity of South Africans who have been using the bucket system in most informal areas, it would also help preserve water which is the country’s most valuable resource.

Minister Mokonyane said the department planned to transform the different approaches to sanitation.

Disposing of human waste through flush toilets that use drinking quality water is unwise and unsustainable.

“In this regard, we are currently looking at numerous technologies that will assist us to eliminate the use of clean drinkable water to dispose of human waste.

“We are determined to introduce low-water and no-water solutions as part of our efforts to deliver sanitation.

“Dry sanitation solutions must become the reality we work towards in both low and high-income households going forward. We will in the near future announce steps to introduce norms and standards for the provision of sanitation for application in the country.

This, the Minister said, would include using chemicals, grey water and other alternatives instead of using clean water.

She said her department was determined to educate people that it is not all about flushing.

The Minister said her department is piloting the interim sanitation solution toilets in KwaZulu-Natal, amongst other areas.

Minister Mokonyane also took the pilot to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape to mark sanitation and hygiene month.

“A decent sanitation solution does not mean a water borne solution.

“This is a sanitation revolution we will lead and champion as a department,” she said.

Department making progress in eradication of bucket system

The Minister said her department has made plenty of progress in eradicating the bucket system in formal areas.

 “In 2014/15 alone, we successfully eradicated 20 560 bucket systems and we intend concluding the eradication of the bucket system programme in formal areas by December 2015,” she said.

The department’s target was to eradicate 27 000 bucket systems in formal areas like townships.

The Minister said, meanwhile, that her department and that of cooperative governance and traditional affairs had implemented the “back to basics” strategy to fast-track the delivery of water and sanitation.

She said 27 district municipalities and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality had been identified as areas in need of interventions through this programme.

New plan to preserve water

The Minister said her department plans to complete a comprehensive water plan for South Africa with the aim of managing the country’s scarce resource.

The Minister said the plan, which her department aims to finalise during the current financial year, will aim to use innovative means and alternative technologies to manage water and sanitation in a country that she said needs to keep up with science and technology.

“In 2030, our country must enjoy water security and water supply that is reliable and sustainable.

“To this end, the management of our water resources wisely is paramount.

“We are surely turning a new page from the past where access to water was a privilege enjoyed by a few in South Africa to a future where all South Africans will enjoy access to basic clean water and sanitation,” she said.

Exciting water projects announced

The Minister said her department would continue to build infrastructure to make water accessible to all South Africans. This includes, amongst others:

  • raising the Clanwilliam Dam wall in the Western Cape, at a projected cost of R2,4 billion which has commenced and is due for completion in 2018
  •  raising the wall of Hazelmere Dam as part of KwaZulu-Natal’s Mdloti Development Project at a cost of R528 million to meet the growing demand in the eThekwini and Ilembe District Municipalities
  • planning the Groot Letaba River Water Development Project in Limpopo Province that will lead to the construction of a dam at Nwamitwa, and the regional bulk distribution of water for domestic use for approximately 425 000 affected people in the Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality
  • commissioning the Luvuvhu River Government Water Scheme (Nandoni Bulk Water Supply) in stages to supply proximately 800 000 people in 380 communities in the Thohoyandou and Malamulele areas of Limpopo.

 

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