Of all the resources SA has squandered, ignored or simply sold off to outside influences, the gift of water has been the most rare and precious in a nation unsure when the next drought will render us powerless.
So a study done by the University of Stellenbosch and commissioned by the Water Research Commission in 2012, that according to Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, indicates that this country suffers R7 billion in water losses annually, is cause for serious concern.
Countrywide, dams are currently at 77.2% of capacity – an improvement over last year’s 54% – the government declared eight provinces disaster areas last year, the only exception being Gauteng, although North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga still face challenges, and the Western Cape, hard-hit by drought, experiencing serious water problems. Bringing the availability to the life giving fluid closer to impoverished and rural areas, has been one of government’s signal successes.
Maintaining the flow and the maintenance and treatment of potable water has been one of its most notable failures, an incipient rolling disaster.
It is exactly because of these deficiencies, Mokonyane was appointed head of a new ministry created in May 2014 to combat water issues and serious sanitation problems across the country.