4 October 2017

South Africa: Govt Supports Western Cape Water Security Solutions

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has pledged the department's support towards initiatives that provide sustainable water security solutions in Western Cape and the City of Cape Town.

"Working with the city and province, we will support initiatives that provide innovative and sustainable water security solutions. The increased exploration of ground water resources and the re-use of water are amongst the solutions we are talking to," said Minister Mokonyane.

Minister Mokonyane met with Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille and Local Government, Environment and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell to again assess to the Western Cape drought situation and interventions which are being implemented.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Mayor De Lille appraised the Minister on the city's plans towards what has been termed 'Day-Zero' and the current challenges in achieving the city's targeted use of 500 mega litres (ml) of water per day. The city is currently using 618ml, meaning more is required to achieve the targeted levels.

On 28 September, the department gazetted changes to the water restrictions being implemented in the city. The restrictions for domestic use were increased to 40% from an initial 20%, and to 50% for industrial use from 30%.

Minister Mokonyane said the department will fast-track the implementation of the Berg River/Voelvlei augmentation scheme, targeting a completion date by the winter of 2019.

"Similarly, plans are afoot to commence with work on the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall as a matter of urgency."

She, however, noted that concerns remain regarding illegal connections and dams that are emerging in farming areas, abstracting water for agricultural purposes during this period.

"The department, working with the province and the Green Scorpions is attending to these matters and increased enforcement of laws and by-laws will be effected. Similarly, water use licence applications currently with the department from the province are being expedited to provide for future water security and efficient planning on solutions to be implemented during this period," Minister Mokonyane said.

Minister Mokonyane and MayorDe Lille also agreed on a process of further engagement with all the relevant stakeholders, community and business to further grow the partnership on water savings, and provide long-term sustainable solutions in the context of the 'new normal.'

Minister Mokonyane thanked the citizens of Cape Town and businesses that have responded to the call to use water wisely.

She urged those that are yet to respond to do so urgently because "the situation is dire and requires all to play part in saving the available water resources and avoid Day-Zero".

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