At a water indaba in Johannesburg, Nirali Shah, risk manager for Deloitte and Touche highlighted concerns about local water usage.
“Transportation of water is becoming increasingly expensive. The Vaal Dam catchment area serves the industrial powerhouse of South Africa, including Gauteng,” said Shah.
“The demand on the catchment area is such that the natural resources of the Vaal Dam catchment are unable to supply the full water requirements.”
She added that new schemes were continually developed to make up for the lack of water.
“Various interbasin transfers already exist to transfer water from areas with excess resources to the Vaal Dam catchment.
“For example the Lesotho Highlands Water Project transfers water from Lesotho into the Vaal Dam,” she said.
In order to deal with this the province has placed efficient water usage as a goal for their provincial water department.
“As a department we believe that the country cannot afford any level of complacency with regard to water efficiency, therefore we believe that there is a lot of room for improvement beyond just the province. A lot can be achieved in this regard especially with better relations among all tiers of government as well as the water users, be they industry, households and everyone else,” Sputnik Ratau, a spokesperson for the provincial department said.
Ratau said there was a general awareness of the need for water conservation, especially as this had an impact on the pocket of the user in certain circumstances.
“Water conservation and demand management is critical, therefore there is a need to continuously raise the matter with all water users, not just individuals or individual households,” Ratau said.
According to Ratau, the province had programmes related to water conservation and demand management.
“These are not only about using less water but include issues like the appreciation of water courses thus leading to less pollution of rivers and streams, removal of alien species, protection of rivers, streams, wetlands.
“There can never be enough awareness considering that this also has to do with behaviour change and not just regulations.”
Ratau said engagement with stakeholders on water use should not be a once-off event but rather an ongoing exercise and that way, the province would not find itself in a water crisis.
Source: The New Age (By Liezelle Kumalo)
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