The rehabilitation of boreholes, water tanks and others is among plans set by the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to deal with drought. Supplied
JOHANNESBURG - The department of Water and Sanitation yesterday announced a list of immediate interventions and long-term measures aimed at mitigating the impact of drought and water scarcity following the technical Ministers and Members of Executive Councils Meeting.

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the drought had highlighted a need for an elaborate strategy to guide management of water supply and mitigation against the risks of drought.

Sisulu said that some of the interventions would include instituting borehole drilling and rehabilitation, water tankering from available sources, rainwater and fog harvesting, as well as protection and the use of springs.

She said that the department was also looking at cloud seeding, evaporation suppression, desalination of brackish groundwater or sea water and effluent treatment and reuse, as part of the solution.

“In the long term we will im- plement measures to enhance water security against drought, and these include water storage and transfer developments; and that water infrastructure like dams and conveyance pipelines are developed to redistri- bute water over time and space,” Sisulu said.

“Other long-term measures to mitigate drought include monitoring systems, enabling policies, working maintenance logistics, as well as well-co-ordinated institutional arrangements, among others.”

Grain and livestock producers have warned that the drought could collapse rural economies and decimate the country’s entire agricultural industry.

Yields per year are down, farmers are planting less, and animal production has lessened due to unnatural dry weather conditions, below normal rainfall, and warm weather.

Sisulu said that South Africa would need to reduce water demand and increase supply as the country still had higher water consumption per capita than the world average.

She urged South Africans to continue using water sparingly.

“We should not escape the reality that South Africa remains a water scarce country.

"We need to accept that climate change is a reality and it continues to create imbalances in our rainfall patterns and seasonal changes,” Sisulu said

“And as an arid and semi-arid country climate change continues to worsen our situation, we have the responsibility as a country to ensure that we preserve and use sparingly the little resources that we have.”