The Department of Water and Sanitation briefed the portfolio committee on the drought management in the country on Wednesday, 11 November 2015. This was followed up by a media briefing by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) responsible for the drought led by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan on 13 November 2015. The media briefing focused on the mitigating processes the Department is putting in place to address the water scarcity.
There have been widespread reports on the drought and water crisis in South Africa. To date, Limpopo, North West, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal had been declared ‘drought stricken’, while Mpumalanga is on the verge of being declared a drought stricken area. Although the water restrictions in Gauteng had also been widely reported on, the Department maintained that the pressures the Gauteng water supply system are experiencing are due to high temperatures and high demand and not as a consequence of the drought.
According to the Department, the water sector is facing considerable challenges, which include climate change, lack of rainfall, ageing and poor maintenance of infrastructure in some areas, water leaks, water pollution, illegal water connections, alien and invasive species and heat waves. The current El Nino is perhaps the worst in history and this phenomenon is expected to continue until March 2016, where it is predicted to lessen towards the ensuing winter months.
Interesting facts to consider:
Current national water storage average at 64.3%, compared to 74.6% for 2014
The agricultural sector (62.5%) uses the most water
South Africans use 26% more water per day than the global average
30% of South African towns require urgent water resource security intervention
For more statistics on the drought and water crisis, see infographic below:
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