Government says disaster can be avoided if SA saves water

Government says disaster can be avoided if SA saves water

The inter-ministerial task team on the drought said on Thursday there will be no need to declare a national disaster if South Africans start saving water.

Water drop faucet_wikimedia
Photo: Wikimedia

Drought conditions continue to persist across the country, with water restrictions already implemented in Gauteng. 

Briefing media Thursday afternoon, the committee - chaired by Cooperative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen - said below normal rainfall conditions are also expected this spring.

"According to our country's own weather service, the drought is still persisting over most parts of South Africa and a recovery will be delayed due to expected below [average] rainfall conditions. Current indications are that above normal rainfall and temperatures could be expected during the early summer season - that is November, December and January," Van Rooyen said.

Dam levels are sitting at 53 percent, well below the 72 percent it stood at this time last year.

Government has already delivered over 63 000 water tankers - amounting to 8 million litres of water - to people in KwaZulu Natal, the North West, Free State and Eastern Cape. 

R1.8 billion has so far been spent on mitigation measures.

The dry conditions have also had a negative impact on food production and will see consumers having to fork out more at grocery stores.

The task team, however, says a lot of pain could be avoided if everyone uses water wisely.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane says South Africans are using more water per day than international standards, which is 175 litres of water per person per day.

"The user patterns in South Africa show that currently the average water consumption per person per day in the Rand Water supply area is 280 litres per person per day. This is a lot more than the legislated 25 litres per person per day.

Mokonyane said 40 percent of the water allocated for use in households, go towards irrigation and gardening.

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