Gauteng water troubles underline fragility of mismanaged system

Gauteng water troubles underline fragility of mismanaged system

We should always use water responsibly – and that includes the authorities

Image: WaterCAN

Gauteng authorities are blaming each other over water problems instead of working together to resolve the issues.

WaterCAN, an initiative of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), calls for a focus on resolving the water issues, providing the public with accurate information and for accountability for those who mismanage the delivery.

“The finger pointing needs to stop. We need clear information that is honest and open about what is going on in both Tshwane and Johannesburg. The politics and finger pointing is more about scapegoating than dealing with the issues,” says Dr Ferrial Adam, WaterCAN Manager.

This week the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane have had significant water supply issues, while Rand Water, which supplies both metros, has also had problems. The metros and Rand Water have blamed each other. Joburg implemented level 1 water restrictions from 1 September to 31 March, which is says it does every year at this time, while Rand Water has accused Tshwane of failing to implement restrictions and having a higher per capita water usage than the global average. Loadshedding has added to problems as the authorities have inadequate back-up power systems.

“We are at a tipping point in terms of our drinking water, both in terms of the amount of water and the quality of our water. We are heading into another El Nino, which means that we could experience hotter, dryer drought conditions,” says Adam.

“South Africa has to become more aware of saving, re-using and recycling water,” says Adam.

“This includes everyone from individual consumers to water service authorities.”

Saving water is the responsibility of everyone. Individual consumers can recycle shower or bath water in a bucket and use it to flush toilets, and install rainwater tanks for gardens. Authorities must address leaks and wastage in their systems, and vastly improve the treatment of wastewater before it is returned to rivers.

WaterCAN urges all in South Africa to use water sparingly. Water is our most precious resource. Treat it as such.


WaterCAN’s water testing week

The week of 17 to 24 September is WaterCAN’s annual water testing week. See more here.

WaterCAN is working with other water champions, organisations and communities to test water, aiming to collect enough data to support calls for authorities to clean up. Water from any source – rivers, dams, taps – can be tested and WaterCAN calls on the public to be citizen scientists and test their water. Testing kits are available through WaterCAN.


More information

A soundclip with comment by WaterCAN Executive Manager Dr Ferrial Adam is here.

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