South Africans will have to adapt their approach to water consumption if the country wants to prevent the so-called Day Zero.
Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Monday warned that water shortages are facing large parts of South Africa. Heavy rains are not expected before December and dam and reservoir levels are constantly falling. According to Sisulu, South Africa is one of the 30 driest countries in the world. More than 60% of the country’s water is used for agriculture, leaving 27% for the country’s approximately 58 million inhabitants.
Aging infrastructure and mismanagement also cause major problems in terms of efficient water management.
According to Sisulu, South Africa is currently experiencing what is referred to as water stress. “The situation is very serious, but there is no reason to panic. Everything is under control.
“We face a harsh reality and we must immediately begin to make South Africa [water] disaster resistant. It is of the utmost importance, ”she said.
The minister says South Africa can do nothing about changing weather patterns, but must use the resources available sparingly.
Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai says consumption has simply become unsustainable. The bulk water provider has already introduced restrictions in several areas.
In its water supply area, consumption has jumped to almost 5 billion liters per day, where it was previously 4.3 billion liters. Water restrictions are already in place in various parts of Rand Water’s supply area.
Consumers here use an average of 320 liters per person per day, while the international averages 170 liters per person per day, Mosai said. According to him, research has also found it possible to get away with 25 liters of water per person per day. If this figure is even raised to 100 liters per person per day, there is still plenty of water for everyone.
“If we use drinking water for drinking water, everything should be fine. Consumers use water for purposes other than drinking water. Most of it is used to water gardens and fill pools, ”Mosai said.
He pleaded with people to reduce their consumption, saying if 500 million liters of water could be saved per day, restrictions could be eased.
“Every drop counts. If every household works together, there is plenty of water, ”Mosai said.
According to Sisulu, so-called shedding water, such as the hated load shedding, will only be introduced if the current rate of consumption does not decrease. “If we stick to the restrictions, we’re not going to reach that point,” she said.
Dhesigen Naidoo, head of the water research commission, said water infrastructure would in future have to be maintained at the highest level to prevent water loss. “It is totally unacceptable that Sipho [Mosai] ‘s target is 500 million liters of water per day, while 41% of water in the urban area complex is not accounted for at all.”
Naidoo said new, modern infrastructure is needed to meet challenges and that water must be reused several times before finally returning to the source.
“Get used to living in South Africa. English countertops do not work in Johannesburg. We need South African gardens that are much more water-wise. ”
Sisulu also undertook to release more information about the department’s so-called water master plan next month.