Gauteng and NW Province

Will South Africa run out of water by 2013?

While the Cabinet has given the go ahead for phase two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project this will only deliver water by 2019 at the earliest. Last month former Water Affairs director-general Mike Muller who presently works at the University of the Witwatersrand, warned that Gauteng will run out of water in 2013.

Two weeks ago the CSIR suspended researcher Anthony Turton just before he was to deliver a presentation to a conference of scientists on the Water Crisis in South Africa. Turton’s presentation said that many rivers and dams are so polluted they can no longer dilute effluent discharged into them. He also stated that South Africa has run out of surplus water with 98% already allocated.

Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Lindlwe Hendricks acknowledged recently that South Africa will run out of water by 2013 with the present conditions as they are. She said that a serious concern was that while farmers along the Vaal River might have water authorisation they were far exceeding the amount allocated to them. A study has revealed that 180 million cubic metres of water are used unlawfully each year.

At present a wide range of industries, including mines, much of Eskom’s coal fired power stations, Sasol’s coal-to-liquid fuel facility as well as agricultural activity in four provinces could grind to a halt unless water saving and anti-theft measures are introduced to tide the country over.
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