The month of September is now upon us, which means that summer is around the corner in South Africa.
Most people experiencing scorching hot conditions will go to water resources like rivers, lakes, and dams to cool off.
The swimming pools and the country’s beaches will likely be crowded as recreational enthusiasts start enjoying the water during the hot weather.
The Department of Water and Sanitation has, however, issued a warning to the public to be cautious around water resources. Many people have drowned during these recreational activities, be it at the swimming pools or at the rivers.
Beach rules and regulations should be always adhered to whether on the sand or in the water. People are reminded to swim only in safe and supervised areas. Keeping an eye on children is crucial as they cannot comprehend the force and dangers of water. Always show them the boundaries of where they can go.
The summer season is also associated with rainfall. Religious or ritual activities at the rivers should be avoided during heavy rainfall which can result in flash floods. We have witnessed on numerous occasions, people having perished during river baptism and cleansing rituals.
People should not underestimate the force of water. While they have the right to exercise rituals such as river baptisms, a high level of responsibility is required from them.
Water has a force that is extraordinary and can cause havoc. We have seen during the KwaZulu-Natal floods in April 2022 how houses were destroyed and infrastructure damaged. And, more than four-hundred people perished in the floods.
There is also a high demand for water during hot weather conditions, and efforts to save water need to double during summer.
This is mainly because temperatures will begin to rise, putting a strain on the already declining dam levels in most parts of the country. As the temperatures rise, water will evaporate in the country’s reservoirs. This is evident in the hydrological report released by the Department of Water and Sanitation to monitor the state of the country’s dam levels on a weekly basis.
Let us, therefore, use water sparingly during these hot weather conditions and be extra cautious as we socialise and cool off at the country’s water resources. Remember water is life, but it can also end a life if a person is not taking necessary precautions when swimming, or is socialising at places of water.
Nthabiseng Dhlamini is a communicator at the National Department of Water and Sanitation.