SPRING FEVER: People collect water from the Newlands Spring to avoid paying the high tariffs the City is charging.Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - South Africa needs to invest at least R33 billion each year for the next 10 years to ensure water security, or run the risk of dams running dry.

The national Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is compiling a master plan - a planning document on how to secure water for future generations to prevent the droughts that recently gripped the Western and Eastern Cape.

“This master plan is driven by a sense of urgency. It sets out prioritised actions and investments the country must implement between now and 2030 to overcome challenges and ensure a water-secure future supporting inclusive development across the country, and to ensure that universal sanitation coverage protects the health of our people,” the document reads.

The plan also calls to action all stakeholders, including the National Treasury, to address the challenges.

“This includes ensuring that by 2030 we have a sufficient reserve of supply to take us safely into the future, and that we meet sustainable development goals,” the reports read.

Acting director-general Trevor Balzer indicated that the main objective of the plan was the alignment of water and sanitation.

“It was imperative for all role players to be aware of what happens nationally; that it is important for the National Treasury to understand from day one which major infrastructure development will impact on which local infrastructure; that available major infrastructure needs to latch on to local infrastructure; and to align infrastructure projects to ensure that the unserved also receive attention,” he said.

“A crucial part of the master plan points out the priority actions required until 2030 and beyond to ensure water security and equitable access to water and sanitation services for all in the country,” Blazer said.

Currently, 14.1 million people do not have access to safe sanitation, only 64 % of households have access to a reliable water supply service; 56% of waste water treatment works and 44% of water treatment works are in a poor or critical condition.

“At the same time 11% are dysfunctional; more than 50% of South Africa’s wetlands have been lost, and of those that remain, 33% are in poor ecological condition.

“In the end, water security also speaks to ‘fit for use’, and this is impacted upon by water quality, especially resulting from Waste Water Treatment Works malfunction and other pollution activities,” Blazer said.

James Steyn, the spokesperson for MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell, said the province was the only provincial government to have developed an integrated water management plan.

“The goal of this plan is to guide water resources-related activities towards meeting the growth and development needs of the region, as well as to protect water resources from environmental degradation,” he said.

[email protected]nl.co.za

Cape Argus