Churchill Dam near Kareedow. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
Churchill Dam near Kareedow. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Most parts of SA experienced good mid-winter rainfall, but this should not be seen as a ticket to careless usage of water by consumers as water remains a scarce and irreplaceable natural resource.

Currently there is enough water almost everywhere, with the exception of some parts of the Eastern Cape, but this should not make us to be complacent and forget where the country once found itself. In 2018, the City of Cape Town endured severe water shortages emanating from a three-year drought. The city’s water supply ran dry and almost reached the dreaded Day Zero. What transpired in Cape Town should always be kept in the back of our minds.

The Eastern Cape is still experiencing water challenges due to a lack of rainfall in water catchment areas. Yes, the rain falls freely from heaven but it costs a fortune the minute it touches the ground; hence the need to take good care of water at all times. There is no guarantee that a week from tomorrow we will still experience good rains, due to global warming and constant changing of weather patterns that comes with the extremes.

Water conservation must start right now, when there is still water available, not vice versa. It is the responsibility of municipalities and water boards to act proactively to upgrade and maintain water infrastructure. A burst pipe should not take days or months to be attended to and repaired. Both community members and water suppliers have an obligation to secure water and the infrastructure used to supply water.

Members of the public are urged to report any acts of vandalism of water infrastructure to the law enforcements authorities. The same applies to water service providers responsible for supplying water to the communities; they too must be reported to the department of water and sanitation if they fail to attend to water losses due to failing infrastructure. The toll-free number is 0800-200-200.

As the country and the world at large celebrate World Water Month in March under the theme “Valuing Water”, let us look at the importance of water in our daily lives, the economy and the environment we live in. Let us ask ourselves what role we are playing to sustain this scarce resource.

Marcus Monyakeni, Department of water and sanitation

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