In light of government recently declaring the drought and water crisis plaguing the country a national disaster, the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation (DWS) has urged Gauteng water consumers to use resources sparingly.
DWS water sector regulations director Mangwani Mabada cautioned on Thursday that widespread rain across Gauteng might give a false impression that water resources were abundantly available in South Africa’s most populated province.
“If people don’t look after this precious resource that we have, a ‘Day Zero’ in Gauteng will eventually happen,” he commented to Engineering News Online during a tour of the Roodeplaat dam, north-east of Pretoria.
The DWS has stepped up its conservation campaigns to encourage communities to conserve water and to prevent the possibility of Gauteng facing the same situation as the drought-stricken Western Cape, where water resources are severely limited.
“We are trying to encourage awareness in saying that whatever water resources we currently have, look after it while we still can,” Mabada said.
He added that awareness campaigns were starting to bear fruit, with big businesses across the province having heeded the call to conserve water. Many businesses are re-using water and are reducing the volumes extracted from dams, groundwater sources and municipal systems.
Mabada noted that awareness was not only about conservation, but also about the prevention of pollution discharges. The DWS is engaging in several forums around the province, where presentations and discussions focused on the “quantity and the quality” of water in the province.