Friday, March 20, 2009

Misgivings linger about government's capacity to avert water crisis

Engineering News (South Africa): While it would be unhelpful to superimpose the energy reality onto the water milieu, it appears that the challenges in South Africa’s water sector are beginning to bear a resemblance to those that sounded the initial alarm bells of the current energy crisis.

Water-management areas face a water deficit, ecosystems and water resources are already being placed under pressure by various users in the sectors, and available resources and appropriate water resources are being affected by decreasing water quality, which, in turn, affects net availability.

Adding to this is the ageing water and wastewater infrastructure, a severe lack of skilled human resources, pollution, climate-change scenarios, as well as the illegal use of water and the inappropriate use of funds by different spheres of local government.

In the past year, significant concerns and issues have been raised in relation to the water sector, as well as the current and future status of water security in the country. Of these, the most controversial relates to the possibility of a water shortage in Gauteng province by 2013.

Initially, the claims of a water shortage were denied by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (Dwaf); however, in September last year, Engineering News quoted department director-general Pam Yako, who said that failure to do something about the current growth trends and needs in the province would lead to a water shortage scenario....

Old painting of the South Africa village of Somerset West

No comments: