The future of water in South Africa
All of us as individuals have a duty to conserve water, harvest our own supply of water and care for our country’s water resources. Read below for a rather dire forecast from Engineering News…
Water shortages were likely to be more prevalent by 2025, unless proper action is taken to provide more water infrastructure, cautions Department of Water Affairs infrastructure development chief director Willie Croucamp.
Among the challenges he cites are water availability, quality, affordability, governance, environmental considerations and meeting operational-efficiency aims.
“If nothing is done, we could be in a situation where there will be an imbalance between the supply and demand in all the water management areas in 2025,” Croucamp told the Engineering Planet Future conference, hosted by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.
He argued that reconciliatory strategies needed to be developed and implemented, and advocated water loss control and efficient use of water as interventions.
In terms of water quality, Croucamp said that, in 2008, the compliance rating was 93,3%, while it was 96,5% last year and the latest statistics indicated a 97,3% compliance, which was in line with the national standards requirement.
He blamed old gold mines in Gauteng for polluting the water system and added that, if acid mine drainage could be treated, it could make a viable business model.
About R60-billion was required by municipalities to upgrade and refurbish bulk water and sanitation infrastruc- ture, he said.
“If this is not attended to, it will affect the quality of water in 2014.”
About 7 589 mℓ of wastewater was transported and treated daily in South Africa and R23-billion would be required to replace infrastructure related to wastewater management.
An operational expenditure of about R3,5-billion a year was required to meet sanitation demands.
“Waste management is generally found to be far from acceptable,” said Croucamp.
Last year, during the Africa Water Week conference, it was revealed that only 26 countries in Africa were on track to meet their targeted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water and six on sanitation.
If this trend continued unabated, Africa would meet the MDGs target for water in 2036 and the sanitation target in 2109.
“The MDGs for meeting water and sanitation service provision backlogs were met in 2005 and 2008, respectively. “We are now aiming for full access in 2014,” concluded Croucamp.
By: Dennis Ndaba
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Source: Engineering News
IMAGE: Danjohansonphotography/Flickr on creative commons license