The current water crisis in South Africa could have detrimental consequences for South Africa and its citizens if nothing is done to secure our current water reserves.

At a meeting with the media on September 30, the Ekurhuleni MMC of water, sanitation and energy, Clr Tiisetso Nketle, spoke about the water crisis and what the City of Ekurhuleni has done to secure the future of water for South Africa.

“The Vaal River System is drying up. Come 2024, humans and vegetation will suffer severely if we do not find ways of salvaging the situation,” said Clr Nketle.

Clr Nketle said the South African government has realised the need for water and has since invested R22,9-billion in order to build two new dams, the Budi Hadi and the Budi Hadi Katse dams.

It is hoped that the dams will be completed by 2024.

Clr Nketle said the two new dams will be built in Lesotho to compliment the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which is under strain.

“The national department of water and sanitation has taken precautionary measures in order to control consumption usage of this national resource until the Lesotho project is completed. These water restrictions might stay with us for nine years,” said Clr Nketle.

“The minister of water and sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, signed a Government Gazette on August 12 which stated that when the Integrated Vaal River System reaches 60 percent the minister is mandated to impose water restrictions,”said Clr Nketle.

The Government Gazette was released to inform the public about the water restrictions in relation to schedule three of the National Act of 1998 urban irrigation under the IVRS.

“According to the Act, when the integrated river system reaches levels of 60 percent, the minister is mandated to impose water restrictions,” said Clr Nketle.

“The IVRS is currently under 60 percent. Our water restrictions will be imposed on tariff activations,” said Clr Nketle.

Clr Nketle said a 10 percent price increase will be imposed on households that use more than 25 kilolitres (25 000 litres) of water per month.

“All users who fail to reduce their consumption by 15 percent of their 2015/2016 average monthly consumption will be subjected to measures that will ensure that the 15 percent reduction in demand is achieved,” said Clr Nketle.

In short, residents will need to ensure they do not use more than 25 kilolitres of water a month, or face a finiancial penalty. On top of this, residents are also expected to reduce their average amount of water used each month by 15 percent.

Clr Nketle said the measures that will be used by the municipality to ensure the 25 kilolitre cap per household is not exceeded will include:

  •  Focused attention on the accurate readings of water meters.
  •  The use and enforcement of bylaws which will assist in preventing residents from not following guidelines for water usage.

Clr Nklete said in order to save water residents must:

  •  Not fill up their pools at all.
  •  Not use hosepipes, sprinklers or irrigation systems to water their gardens.
  •  Use a bucket to water gardens between 6pm and 6am.
  •  Use a bucket when washing their car.

“This will help all of us to reduce our consumption,” said Clr Nketle.

Mr Kennedy Chiota, the acting head of department for water and sanitation, said the Ekurhuleni bylaws that provide for water restriction tariffs will become applicable.

Mr Chiota said the City of Ekurhuleni is Rand Water’s second biggest customer, after Johannesburg.

“Ekurhuleni’s daily demand is 1 000 megalitres (1000 000 000 litres) a day.”

“The water restriction implemented by the department of water affairs aims to see a 15 percent mandatory reduction imposed for domestic use and 20 percent reduction for irrigation,” said Mr Chiota

He said if residents do not follow the guidelines and continue to waste water, the water crisis could worsen.

Mr Chiota said other measure that have been considered to preserve water include:

  •  Water loss eradication by repairing leaks.
  •  Rainwater and storm water harvesting.
  •  The reuse of treated effluent.
  •  The use of ground water.
  •  The use of neutralised water and acid mine drainage.

“The minister has imposed a 15 percent reduction as level one. If there is no improvement the water restrictions will be escalated to level two,” said Mr Mr Chiota.

“On September 29, council approved a 25 kilolitre capping of all households. If a household exceeds the 25kl cap, a 10 percent penalty will be implemented.”

According to Mr Chiota, in Ekurhuleni the are four categories of water users. They are households, institutions, other businesses and big businesses.

Mr Chiota said household, businesses and institutions will be penalised differently.

Mr Chiota said to determine the use of water by businesses and institutions, an average will be taken from 2015 to 2016.

He said this will become their threshold.

“If the businesses and institutions are unable to reduce that threshold by 15 percent they will be subject to 20, 30 and 40 percent penalties,” said Mr Chiota.

Mr Kennedy Chiota, the acting HOD of water and sanitation, showing members of the media various graphs in connection to the water restrictions

He said the 10 percent tariff will be implemented on households only.

Mr Chiota said in order to assist in the preservation of water, the City of Ekurhuleni has begun repairing leaks, communicating with residents and media, enforcing its bylaws and focusing on non-revenue water reduction.

Mr Chiota said if community members find a leak they are to report it to the municipal services call centre on 086 054 3000.

He said people can also download the Ekurhuleni app and use it to report water leaks or people who are wasting water.


WATCH: MMC talks about water crisis

Source: WATCH: ‘Water restrictions could be with us for 9 years’ – MMC | Bedfordview Edenvale News