Stakeholders propose partnerships to address water woes

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JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH African government and the private sector  have been urged to work together to solve the looming water crisis caused  by harsh weather conditions around the country.

The call came in Johannesburg when stakeholders converged to explore  strategies of conserving water and prevent a catastrophe.

Participants at the one-day workshop sponsored by Coca-Cola South Africa  argued unless there was no proper mechanism to address water challenges,  the problem would worsen across the country.

Among stakeholders that participated at the workshop include the  Department of Water and Sanitation, water agencies, local municipalities,  farmers organisations, nongovernmental organisations, human rights groups
as well as businesses.

Several speakers called upon the government to increase partnerships to  avert the crisis.

Vaal Environment Justice founder, Samson Mokoena, said the main problem  affecting the country today, particularly in Gauteng Province, was due to  the provincial government working in isolation from water agencies, while  communities where water catchment areas emanated were rarely consulted.

“Water is an essential commodity that should be jealously guarded by all  of us. With the drought starring at us, we might end up seeing farmers,  municipalities, government and local communities fight over water yet when
we work together to address the challenges in a transparent manner, we  always come with solutions without blaming one another,” said Mokoena.

Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Regional Manager for Southern Africa,  Dr Mark Dent, urged water users and managers to be responsible to protect  and enhance freshwater resources for people and nature.

He said the looming drought currently threatening viability in South  Africa was affecting the entire African continent, thus, water  stakeholders should be responsible in their use of to enhance  environmentally sustainability.

Dent said the environmentally sustainable use of water would maintain  biodiversity and ecological processes at the watershed level.

“The main problem we are facing at the moment is that we are not getting  the good picture of who are the actual players in the water industry. My  message to the stakeholders in the water sector, please stop hiding the
information, make all players in the water management known to one another  in order to find lasting solution,” said Dent.

However, Sylvia Leabile of SSIS Pipeline Services, a piping firm, accused  South African municipalities of failing to replace warn-out water pipes  she claimed were the main cause of water shortage in many municipalities.

She said some equipment used in the provision of water were outdated.

Leabile said most municipalities had their water pipes installed more than  60 years ago.

“These pipes urgently needed attention or complete overhaul. These water  pipes underground have been in existence for more than 60 years, and such  they require a complete overhaul. Worse still, most of the pipes have
leaks hence losing millions of litres of water undetected,” said Leabile.

She said worn-out infrastructure such as water pipes, lack of water pipe  maintenance as well as lack of new technology to detect water bursts in  the cities worsened the problem.

“These water pipes have been installed long back!  Worse still, we don’t  even know the engineers who designed those infrastructure, so we keep  piling pressure to old infrastructure resulting in water leaks, bursts and  other associated water loses,” Leabile said in a  interview with  CAJ News Africa.

Dhesigan Naidoo, Chief Executive Officer for Water Research and  Sanitation, who urged investment into more water reservoirs such as dams, water infrastructure and technology.

Deputy Director-General in the Department of Water and Sanitation, Anil  Singh, said the government was willing to partner with the private sector  and the public to conserve water.

The looming drought phenomenon recently saw government collaborate with  churches to convene a prayer summit.

“Water is critical resource and as such, we call upon all stakeholders,  corporate world and business to partner the government in conserving the  water. Water consumers and users must use the commodity responsibly,”  Singh said.

The impact of the drought is felt across the country.

In some provinces such as KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and North West, the  respective governments have since begun ferrying water to thousands of  drought-prone communities.

Water rationing has not been ruled out in major cities such as  Johannesburg and Pretoria.

CAJ News







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Posted by on Nov 26 2015. Filed under Africa & World, Featured, National, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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