26 January 2005

More than 40% of water 'lost'

More than 40 percent of water consumed in South Africa was unaccounted for, said Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Buyelwa Sonjica in Pretoria on Tuesday.

She said an estimated R200 to R300-million a year was unaccounted for in the Rand Water area alone, noting that it all went missing "somewhere" between the supplier and the consumer.

"This is mainly due to burst pipes and the non-metered supply of water to organisations."

This was especially damaging considering the current water situation in the country, she said.

Sonjica said her department was working closely with local municipalities to ensure they upgraded and maintained their water supply infrastructures.

"We are calling for all South Africans to use water wisely and efficiently," she said noting that the country was one of the 30 driest countries in the world even without below average rainfalls.

Discussing the current crisis, Sonjica warned that more water restrictions loomed despite the recent good rain.

She said the figures up until the end of December showed that rainfall had been below average but had improved towards the end of December and into January.

"We have not recovered the figures for January yet."

Already many provinces, including the Western Cape and Limpopo, were enduring water restrictions with farmers in some provinces being prohibited from irrigating their land as local municipalities tried to build dam reserves for domestic use.

Sonjica said plans were being devised in the Western Cape to capture water from the aquifers on Table Mountain, if the situation became much worse.

"We have even considered desalination plants but they are very expensive," she said.

Dam level's across the country this week stood at 59,6 percent but reservoirs in the Western Cape were only 42,4 percent full.

Dams in Gauteng were 32,4 percent full but Sonjica said the main supply dams - Vaal and Sterkfontein - were supplied by the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme and so the level was not of too great a concern.


Post a Comment

<< Home