Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has assured South Africans that there is no water crisis in the country, despite it being ranked in the top 30 of the world’s driest countries.
“We do not have a water crisis. What we are experiencing are water management challenges. "We are in a situation where the water supply exceeds the water demand. We can all play our part to preserve this precious resource by using it with the utmost care,” said Minister Mchunu.
He was briefing the media about the state of water in the country.
He said since surface water resources are fully allocated, some of the country’s water supply comes from the Lesotho Highlands Water Transfer Scheme. Surface water is water that is above the ground, such as streams, rivers, dams, wetlands and reservoirs.
Minister Mchunu said that to meet the increase in water demand, his department has gradually increased groundwater use through the groundwater development scheme. Groundwater is water located beneath the surface of the earth.
Groundwater plays an important role in ensuring there is water security in South Africa.
While assuring that the department is hard at work to ensure the successful completion of bulk water projects and to strengthen co-operation between the public and private sector, he said action will be taken against water polluters.
“The Water Quality Management Policies and Strategies for South Africa (2017) identify pollution from wastewater treatment plants and mine operations as the main sources of pollution. We will not hesitate to deal with transgressors in this case,” he said.
Minister Mchunu added that the department is fast-tracking the activities of the Anti-Pollution Task Team to deal with water quality pollution problems.
Lebogang Maseko works for the Department of Water and Sanitation.