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The government has called in the armed forces to help deal with the water crisis in the Vaal River system, says finance minister Tito Mboweni. Raw sewage continues to gush into the Vaal River at various points from Vereeniging to the Vaal Barrage, despite an undertaking given in mid-July by the national and provincial governments. About 150-million litres of sewage spills into the Vaal via its Rietspruit tributary every day, says environmental group Save. The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which supplies vast areas of Gauteng and the North West with drinking water, is critically important to SA, supporting about 60% of the economy. About 45% of the country’s population lives in the area supplied by water from the IVRS via purification and distribution utility Rand Water. More than a million people live in the most affected Vaal district municipality, Sedibeng, which includes Emfuleni, according to Stats SA’s 2011 census. Though updated official statistics are not available, on...

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