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South Africa is water scarce, and its water resources are finite.
  • South Africa is a water scarce country which depends much for its water on rainfall patterns.

  • The country cannot afford an uncoordinated programme of blue-sky water-thirsty projects.

  • Our country needs to be prudent in the management of this resource since the primary source is rainfall which cannot be guaranteed by decree.

  • We share this problem with the rest of the sub region and continent which places an even greater strain on the shared water resources.

  • The building of dams while important for water security cannot in themselves adequately respond to the challenge of our dependence on rainfall patterns.

The demand for water is increasing due to rapid economic growth, population growth and other social development needs.
  • Government led by the Department of Water Affairs is committed to ensuring that there is sufficient water, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, to support South Africa’s path of growth and development.

  • While there must be sufficient water for the country to achieve its economic growth target, every person in South Africa must have access to potable water. These two goals must be achieved by not compromising the ecological sustainability of the resource.

  • South Africa has identified critical industries to bolster the country to achieving high levels of economic growth. Industries like mining and agriculture which account for a sizeable contribution in our economy depend on the provision of water to sustain themselves and their operations.

  • Provision of free basic water and sanitation services form the bedrock of the programme to uplift the lives of the poor majority in the country.

  • Since 1994, we have serviced more than 18 million people with water and more than 9 million people with access to basic sanitation.

The threat of Climate Change and environmental degradation is also a challenge for the future availability of water resources.
  • Economies both in Africa and the World are already experiencing the effects of climate change in their distribution of rainfall and thus the water resources in their countries.

  • There is close collaboration between the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Department of Agriculture (DoA) to develop robust strategies to monitor, analyze and adapt to the water related impacts of climate change.

  • DWA, Water Research Council (WRC) and Council for Geo Science (CGS) are working to investigate the potential for using groundwater and artificial recharge as part of the strategy for adapting to climate change impacts.

  • DWA is working to upgrade water resource management systems to monitor changes, in order to plan effective adaptive measures

We must increase our efforts towards enforcement and compliance of water laws to guarantee water security and the sustainability of the resource.
  • Government is working to increase its capacity to deal with the enduring problem of illegal water use.

  • Other challenges such as pollution and general waste water works are also receiving attention in dealing with the scourge of water quality in the country.

  • During Water Week, government will be going around the country in what has been aptly termed, “blitz week” to crack down on culprits who are involved in these acts.

Conservation and water use efficiency will ensure that South Africa survives the much talked about water crisis.
  • Government calls on all South Africans to ‘Play Your Part’ part in water conservation and efficiency, in averting what is potentially a devastating crisis for the country.

  • All South Africans have a right and responsibility to secure and safeguard this crucial resource.