Shortage of Water Supply As Reports Indicate The Country Is Running On Empty!
As much of the country experienced power-outages throughout the weekend in the wake of Eskom’s coal supply crisis, another vital supply, water, is in danger of reaching crisis level soon. Late last night it was reported that Gauteng’s water was recently switched off because it was “so close to the edge”, whilst the rest of the country is running on empty unless government spends 100 times more to secure our water supply.
The scary statistics that have been reported says that in more than half of the country, South Africans are using more water than what’s available. We are already using 98% of our available water supply, whilst 40% of our waste water treatment is in a “critical state.” This is greatly alarming to a country that has been known to be rich in natural resources with an abundance of water supply.
A report by the Department of Water and Sanitation has confirmed that demand for water has already overtaken supply in 60% of South Africa’s water management systems.
Many people are disillusioned by the fact that South Africa has plentiful water supply, as we are a semi-arid country. The problem with water supply does not come from our access to water sources but rather the old and unreliable infrastructure that is putting our precious water supply at risk.
In a DWS report from last year, it showed that 37% of our clean, drinkable water is being lost through leaking pipes, dripping taps and other inefficient ways of using water. Marius Claassen, aquatic ecologist and head of water resources research at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), says, “That’s a best case scenario, The 37% is just the ones that report it – at worst we are losing 50-60%,”
Pollution Contributes To Looming Water Crisis
Adding to the crumbling infrastructure, poor efficiency and chronic wastage, pollution is also contributing to a massive strain on water supply.
Pollution was so widespread that it made it “difficult to estimate the magnitude of the problem” according to the European Union.
Research has shown that South Africa generates such large amounts of harmful waste, that it is “more in line with that for developed countries”. However the poor infrastructure has a “very limited” ability to deal with it.
Rapid urbanization contributes to the pollution problem as around half of South Africa’s urban population now lives in informal settlements, according to a World Bank report published in August.
The European Union has warned that with “a very low level or absent” waste management system in these areas, it is not just these communities who are threatened by water borne diseases, but the surrounding local population too. This will mean that even more of our clean and drinkable water will be at risk.
Hazardous waste dumped at the correct waste disposal sites is reportedly only done by 5% of industry. The scarcity of our water is threatened by not disposing of hazardous or industrial waste properly.
What are your thoughts on this looming crisis? Let us know in the comments below.
*information sourced from www.news24.com