SA faces a water crisis‚ MPs warned
South Africa will run out of water by 2030 unless it improves its management of the precious resource‚ MPs heard on Wednesday.
“Water availability could deteriorate as supply contracts and demand escalate due to growth‚ urbanisation‚ inefficient use‚ degradation of wetlands‚ water losses and the negative impacts of climate change‚” said the Department of Water and Sanitation’s deputy director-general for strategic and emergency projects‚ Trevor Balzer‚ as he sketched a picture of a sector in crisis.
There were problems at every step of the value chain‚ from poorly managed water sources to unfettered demand from users‚ he told parliament’s portfolio committee on water and sanitation in a briefing on the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan.
Municipalities had made little progress in meeting water-conservation targets set in the National Development Plan‚ yet Cape Town’s water management amid a severe drought showed consumers could change their behaviour‚ he said.
The City of Cape Town drove consumption down to 80 litres per person per day‚ considerably lower than the current average municipal consumption level of 237 litres per person per day. The world average is 173 litres per person per day‚ he said.
Balzer said SA had lost more than half of its wetlands and almost a third of those that were left were in a poor condition.