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Less water research: committee

Johannesburg - South Africa has seen a steep decline in investment in water data collection, the Water Research Committee (WRC) said on Monday.

It was now trying to set up a task team with the hydrological sciences department of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to probe the issue.

UKZN hydrology professor Graham Jewitt said all data collection agencies were reporting a decline in their gauging networks as a result of budgetary cuts and staffing problems.

“The fact that payment is now required to access some national data collection networks also affects hydrological science efforts,” he said.

The high price of maintenance was also identified as a reason for the decline in weather stations.

Data collection agencies had described the problem as critical.

Jewitt highlighted the importance of maintaining a good data collection system.

“It will be practically impossible to manage the country's water resources if there are no data collection efforts of long-term, continuous data sets to inform water resource management (of necessary) interventions,” he said. - Sapa

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