16 May 2017

South Africa: Water and Sanitation in Partnership With Western Cape Government Host Water Indaba

press release

The Department of Water and Sanitation in partnership with the Western Cape Government hosted a high level Water Indaba in Rawsonville today, with water security in the Western Cape on the agenda.

National Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, Premier Helen Zille and Western Cape Minister Anton Bredell were in attendance.

Minister Mokonyane told the audience that efforts to manage, protect and preserve water as a critical resource in a sustainable manner speak to the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders in the water sector.

"For the past two years, the Western Cape has received insufficient rainfalls. This has highly affected the Western Cape Water Supply System and raised concerns for water security. Growing populations and economies, changing lifestyles and global climate change are all increasing the pressure on the planet's water resources."

Premier Zille likened the current provincial water crisis to the energy crisis of 2008.

"This is an opportunity for South Africa to emerge as the fastest growing water economy in the world. Our innovation however, must be coupled with properly maintaining our current bulk infrastructure, repairing it where necessary and investing in new infrastructure for greater capacity".

The Provincial Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell said the aim of this engagement was to bring leaders across society up to speed with the current water situation in the province.

"It was a forum to share our plans and debate potential solutions for the Western Cape's medium to long-term water supply challenges."

Some of the medium to long term interventions to address water supply in the Western Cape that was discussed by the stakeholders included:

The Berg River-Voëlvlei (Phase 1) augmentation scheme - diverting surplus winter water into Voëlvlei Dam. This project involves the pumped abstraction of winter water from the Berg River to improve the yield of the Voëlvlei Dam. The estimated cost of the project is R500 million.

The possible fast-tracking of the development of the Table Mountain Group Aquifer;

Water re-use (similar to what's happening in Beaufort-West) on a macro level

Seawater desalination.

"While none of the abovementioned augmentation options will bring any immediate relief (within 6 months), it is extremely important that early and urgent decisions are taken on the next projects to be implemented," said Minister Mokonyane.

Minister Bredell warned that addressing water challenges has become critical.

"It speaks to many issues we are trying to address as a country, including the three challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Our only real hope in addressing these significant challenges is to drive economic growth and that means managing our resources better."

Issued by: Department of Water and Sanitation

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