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Parliamentary budget vote debate: Water and Sanitation – Water: Take action now to prevent disaster

In South Africa, water is our lifeblood. It may not follow in the footsteps of the Eskom fiasco and it, thus, needs urgent attention. Plans alone will not work. Decisive action must be taken to store and conserve water in the interest of South Africa and its people.

South Africa is one of the 30 driest countries in the world. For this reason, the government has a great responsibility to sustainably meet the water demand in the country. Even more so in rural areas where water is very scarce.

In 1970, South Africa's population was 23 million. According to the latest census, it is now 55 million.

Between 1960 and 1979, 14 dams were built. In the decade after that, another ten dams were built. That is 27 dams in 20 years. Each of these is a lasting and national monument for every person in the country. How has the ANC government fared over the last 25 years?

Water equals job creation, particularly in the rural areas. In the Gamtoos region, the Kouga Dam was filled to only 6% capacity in the past year. The drought caused 6 600 people to lose their jobs. It gets even worse as it means that there are approximately 6 600 households without an income. Without food. It is a tragedy.

The Langkloof, which is part of the catchment area for the Kouga Dam, also suffered due to drought and water restrictions. In the area, there are less than 80 farmers who employ more than 16 000 people. All thanks to water. Without water, agricultural activities come to a standstill and then there are no jobs. Apparently, the ANC government does not realise this.

In 2011, farmers asked the government to raise the Kouga Dam's wall with two meters. Up to date, nothing has happened. More dams must be built. Previously, prisoners were even employed to do the work. In other cases, water should be channelled from main sources where water is available.

South Africa's infrastructure is in chaos. Great water losses are suffered due to leaking waterpipes. If the situation is allowed to deteriorate without intervention, the country is surely headed to a water disaster. The time for merely talking is over. Action must be taken.

Contact number: 072 428 6103

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