Gauteng and NW Province

South Africa’s water resources under immense pressure

South Africa is currently facing a multi-faceted water crisis. The mismatch between water supply and water demand, the theft of water resources, a deteriorating infrastructure, the loss of essential skills, a strangling educational pipeline, management failure, and deterioration in the quality of water, are all potential threats and key concerns.

Anja du Plessis, project leader of the Water Conservation and Management Focus Group in Unisa’s Geography Department says because of the growing population and the expanding economy, South Africa’s current freshwater resource status is described as being under immense pressure. “Practically all of South Africa’s freshwater resources, including those from rivers, manmade dams and groundwater sources, had already been fully allocated by 2005. Concerning the future demand for water, it has been predicted that South Africa will suffer serious water shortages in 2020.”

In addition, given the current and anticipated future growth rates of the population and trends in socio-economic development, Du Plessis says it is estimated that South Africa’s freshwater resources will be unable to sustain the current patterns of water use and discharge. “It is estimated that the country’s total requirements for water use will double over the next 30 years. Major industrial development and urban settlement have taken place in regions where water resources are not readily available and have resulted in substantial potential impacts on the quality of water in the country, which is already limited in terms of supply.”

Extraction from Unisa News & Media article.

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