Gauteng facing ‘day zero’ water crisis

 ·2 Dec 2018
Water crisis

The Gauteng provincial government has set up a “war room” to tackle a water crisis in the province, according to a Sunday Times report.

At a local, national and provincial level, the government is working with civilian and military water experts to devise a plan to prevent ‘day zero’, the paper reported.

The project aims to reduce water consumption, and to fix run down sewage plants, to ensure the province evades running out of water.

The government’s plan is based on a report called “Water Security Plan for the Gauteng City Region”, which was ordered following the water shortage in the Western Cape.

According to a report, Gauteng residents consume over 300 litres of water a day – the highest in the country.

The province has the highest population – 14.7 million out of 57.73 million people living in South Africa, according to Statistics SA – and is growing by almost 300,000 annually, as people flock to the area in search of work.

The report stated that raw sewage is the biggest contributor to water pollution, with drinking water from Lesotho used to flush pollution out of the Vaal River System.

It also noted that only one of Gauteng’s three water treatment plants is operational.

The SANDF is currently working to fix these facilities, according to the report, which it described as being similar to those in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cape Town narrowly escaped “day zero” – the day the taps run dry – following a severe drought in 2017. Earlier this week, the Western Cape province lowered water restrictions from Level 5 to Level 3 recovery.

This includes increasing the daily usage from 70 litres per person per day to 105 litres per person per day; or from 500 million litres to 650 million litres of collective usage per day.

Cape Town’s water crisis saw the city come within 90 days of turning off the taps earlier in 2018.

Read: Cape Town is lowering water restrictions and tariffs – here’s what you’ll now be paying

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