The Citizen (KZN)

It’s not up to us to save water crisis


Some years ago, when droughts choked the Western Cape and it seemed as though Cape Town would run out of water, the campaign to stave off “Day Zero” won the support of many residents. The same can probably not be said of what might happen if Johannesbu­rg’s current water crisis threatens to turn into another Day Zero.

In the Western Cape, many residents were receptive to the pleas to save water because they realised that their predicamen­t was down to nature. In Johannesbu­rg, people are getting irritated at being blamed for our water shortages and urged to use water sparingly.

Joburg Water issued a statement yesterday which urged consumers, among other things, to rinse their teeth from a glass and to wash their cars on the grass so the water would have a beneficial second use.

So that is going to miraculous­ly rescue us from a crisis that is entirely ANC-manufactur­ed? It is our ruling party’s deployees throughout Gauteng who have caused the slow-motion collapse of our water systems, whether through incompeten­ce or corruption – or both.

The failure to do the most basic maintenanc­e and repair of water reticulati­on systems – in part because experience­d engineers have been let go – is the reason that almost half of the water taken from the systems run by Rand Water goes to waste. Never mind when technician­s forget to open pipeline valves…

It is abundantly clear that the people running our water supply utilities are not up to the task. Government, at all levels, needs to consider an urgent action plan, at the heart of which will be replacing those officials who are not fit for purpose.

If that means bringing back retired engineers or calling in help from the private sector, then so be it.

Do that and people might believe you and pull together to save water.

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