Water conservation and demand management is all hands on deck.

Water conservation and demand management is all hands on deck.

By Marcus Monyakeni Communications Specialist

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Mr Senzo Mchunu as the Minister of Water and Sanitation in August 2021, there has been a shift and a productive way of doing things under his leadership. He gets things done and has worn his heart up his sleeve, got his hands dirty, put up his boots and got on the ground to solve problems in areas affected by water shortages.

He has been criss crossing Mzantsi making sure that he gets first-hand information about the bottleneck’s that cause water challenges in the country. This is with intent to ensure that things move at a required speed and to further ensure that basic services such as water and sanitation are rolled out to the people as enshrined in the constitution. To this end, his solicit inputs from people with the know-how, to get expert advice on how to come up with solutions that will ensure universal access to water and sanitation services.

Be it projects in progress, stalled and those that just commenced, he wants to see wheels in motion and good results. For the country’s over stretched and in demand natural resource called water, Minister Mchunu wants it dispatched to all communities.

That on its own clearly confirms the need to be responsible as individuals, community, industries, agricultural sectors including municipalities by playing a vital role on water use, conservation and care. Amongst others Minister Mchunu set working technical steering committees across the country each assigned to deal with specific challenges facing each areas of water concerns.

Most of this committees are biggening to yield positive results on both bulk water supply and portable drinking water availability.

Municipalities in the country are rated amongst the highest of unaccounted portable water loss getting wasted in the country through unattended pipe bursts and leakages that are not attended at all. Or simply getting overlooked by taking longer period to attend on both leakages and burst pipes. Accountability followed by consequence management to those failing to perform their honourable  duties on management of water and  infrastructure, should be the other of the day. In order for the success of water conservation dream to be a reality at the municipal level.

Apart from leakages the municipalities are also major contributors to our water resources pollution as they fail to adhere to the Water and Sanitation Green Drop Certification by ,means of releasing raw waste water not treated according to the Green Drop Certification. Under Green Scorpions the Department of Water and Sanitation is hot on heels to the contraveners who fail to head the directives issued to them. The time is now for Municipal Managers to begin shoulder for their municipalities failing to adhere with the prescripts and legislations.

Behavioural change is also a need to community members who also contribute to unbecoming use of water without care. Gone are the days where people used to hide with the mentality of water is from God and its free just as it comes in a form of rain.

Yes water is a natural resource given to us humans, shared with both animals and plants. But once the rain drops touches the land physical energy with money plays a role, starting from water catchment in a form dams that needs to be constantly maintained and operated. Leading to bulk raw water piping to drinking water treatment works. Then treated with chemicals later released via pipes to our  taps as portable water used for domestic  Starting from children to adults we all have a responsibility towards water use and care. From fixing a leaking  toilet cistern inhouse and a leaking pipe, to watering gardens in the morning and the afternoon after sun set among others. The mining and the agricultural sectors also has a big chunk of role to play in water food chain. The agricultural sector must at time avoid river obstructions  as that also incapacitates other water users along the river flow, be it farmers and domestic water users. Failure to abide by National Water Act will see you face the highest might of the law with hefty fines.

Same sentiments goes to mining community who are polluting water resources in the name of profit making. At the expense of natural resources that has no substitution.

Most parts of the country currently are  experiencing a period of extremely dry and  hot conditions at times coupled with flash floods.  At the same time putting pressure on the overstretched portable water availability that the country has to over. By the look of a naked eye, to those who are not calculative or observant when it comes to the status of water resources in the country.  One might think all is well with our water availability. Whereas the truth remains we are a water scared country that has scars of climate change impact in our water systems.


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