Neels Blom Writer at large

It is self-evident that without sufficient water SA cannot thrive; perhaps it is too profound a necessity to express in ordinary words for, to South Africans, it is said to mean more than life. This, too, may be self-evident, but if an authority is needed, this is how the poet Antjie Krog puts it in the preamble to one of many policy documents published by the Department of Water and Sanitation: "With water we will wash away the past, we will from now on ever be bounded by the blessing of water." Yet, for millions of South Africans, this is a receding dream. UN data show that nearly all urban dwellers in formal settlements now have access to piped water and that about 80% of rural areas have improved access, up from about 66% in 1990. However, recurring crises have shown it is readily and frequently reversed, as during the emergencies in Cape Town and at Ugu in KwaZulu-Natal. There, SA’s cyclical and perennial droughts, along with ageing and inadequate infrastructure, poor maintenan...

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