Durban – on the slippery slope to water restrictions

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
03 November 2009

It wasn’t more than 2 months ago that Water Resources of South Africa released the findings of a four year long study showing that the country has 4 percent less water than previously estimated, and shows that the estimate of the country’s total natural water resources has declined. At the time Thys Badenhorst, director of water sector support at the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s Durban office, said “The water system is stressed…..We have to deal very carefully with water because the slightest drought would lead to restrictions”.

A month later Dr Anthony Turton, who was praised by the Habitat Council for “daring to tell the truth about the looming water scarcity”, told the Sunday Independent that our water crisis was “way bigger than any ordinary person will ever realize”.

One month on at a provincial water summit in Durban our Water and Environment Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has said that Durban and Pietermariztburg are at risk of water shortages until the completion of the Spring Grove Dam in 2012, and any drought experienced in the Umgeni River catchments over the next two years may result in the use of supply restrictions to manage the situation during this time.

She went on to say that her department was concerned about the high levels of water loss in South Africa, reported to be as high as 40 percent. “Our department remains committed to taking action against unlawful water use. We need to discourage unlawful acts for the benefit of all that depend on our scarce water resources.”

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