Some religious leaders & members of the public believe solutions can’t always be scientific.
JOHANNESBURG – As changing climate conditions intensify the effects of South Africa’s drought, some people believe the lack of rain is a form of punishment.
On Wednesday, some communities around Johannesburg were left without water after reserves ran dry.Joburg Water started dispatching water tankers to affected areas including Brixton, Greenside, Coronationville and other suburbs.Some religious leaders and members of the public believe solutions to the current crisis aren’t just scientific.
WATCH: Taps have run dry in some parts of Johannesburg, and residents now have to rely on water tankers in order to collect this precious resource.
A Coronationville resident, who waited hours to collect water on Wednesday, says he believes current water problems are a sign from above.
“Nobody knows what to do for God to bring this rain. I think God is punishing us.”
Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) President Kgosi Setlamorago Thobejane says indigenous African practices also have a place in addressing water shortages.
“If we were to be given space and given the necessary recognition, there’s a role that we can still play.”
Both men say the careless use of natural resources is finally catching up with South African society.
Meanwhile, muslim organisation, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa is Muslims from around the country to arrange special mass prayers for rain.
Secretary general Moulana Ebrahim Bham said, “When we turn to the Almighty, it is important that we do so with a sense of introspection. To this end, it is essential that we seek forgiveness from our Creator and Sustainer.”
HEIGHTENED RISK OF VELD FIRES ON FARMS
As municipalities in Gauteng make provisions for water, Agri SA says there’s now a heightened risk of veld fires on farms in the country’s drought-hit regions.
The Free State, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal have been declared disaster areas for water and Mpumalanga and the North West declared disaster areas for agriculture.
This makes farmers eligible for relief aid, but worsening weather conditions means even more money will be lost by the time the drought is over.
Agri SA President Johannes Möller says the knock-on effect of the water shortages is a bigger risk for farmers.
“It increased the veld fire hazard, but also the levels of underground water dropped. There’s very little moisture in the soil. The risk has increased, not just for farmers being able to plant, but also for other disasters to follow.”
Möller says that’s because the provision of water for people and animals is more important than crops and irrigation schedules are significantly disrupted.
“Irrigation is responsible for about 25 percent of total agricultural production in South Africa. The moment dam levels drop, agriculture is the first to be hit with water restrictions.”
WATCH: EWN takes a look at the struggle of wheat farmers endure against the drought. The knock-on effect can cause unemployment for some & eventually cut into consumer’s pockets affecting the price of daily bread.
LEVEL 2 RESTRICTIONS
The City of Johannesburg has meanwhile implemented level two water restrictions and says it will now enforce the water services by-law.
The city says it received an urgent notice from Rand Water to start implementing control measures for water use.
Residents are encouraged to abide with these restrictions:
– Residents may not water or irrigate their gardens between 6am and 6pm or fill up their swimming pools.
– Hose pipes may also not be used to wash cars or paved areas.
– Although water will still be available around the clock, pressure in the city’s taps will be reduced.
– If the situation worsens, more restrictions will be imposed, including supply cuts.
(Edited by Tamsin Wort)