Water security flagged as South Africa’s next crisis

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 June 2010

Trade union the United Association of South Africa (UASA) says that, while government seems to realise the enormity and the seriousness of the country’s water security crisis, the biggest stumbling block remains its apparent resistance to any suggestions from outsiders.

The union is concerned that, similar to State-owned power utility Eskom’s debacle, government will persist in stonewalling any suggestions by outsiders until South Africa’s water resources have been damaged beyond repair.

“UASA demands that role-players, like government and the Chamber of Mines, work together to fund and implement a sustainable solution to the country’s water crisis and stop playing around with the lives and health of people and the environment. We demand accountability from them,” UASA spokesperson André Venter told the UASA Water Security seminar, held in Johannesburg, last month.

The trade union intends approaching the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), in terms of section 77 of the Labour Relations Act, with some preliminary proposals in an effort to bring South Africa’s water crisis to an end.

The aim of the seminar was to gain an under- standing of the water crisis and to identify opportunities to provide assistance to government to rectify the situation.

“It is equally important that we communicate this knowledge and understanding of our water security situation in the hope that South Africans will change their ways and adopt zero tolerance towards those wasting or contaminating our water resources,” said Venter.

He added that the union wanted to use the opportunity to be practical, to act and not just talk, since South Africa’s much-publicised water crisis was twofold.

On the one hand, the country’s wastewater treatment plants were in a shocking state. On the other, there was the ongoing acid mine drainage crisis, which was causing irreparable damage to the environment, and immediate and decisive action was needed to rectify both situations.

“The crisis is not to be taken lightly, as water is a scarce and finite resource that must be protected [at all costs]. This is not a time to point fingers. Instead, UASA is taking a firm public stand on the water crisis and, as a first step, took the initiative of hosting the seminar,” concluded Venter.

– Dennis Ndaba
Source: Engineering News

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