Rosetta - President Jacob Zuma urged communities on Tuesday to take care of infrastructure provided for them.
Opening the Spring Grove Dam in Rosetta, near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal, he said infrastructure belonged to all South Africans.
“We should not allow them to be vandalised or uncared for. We must consider and remember that if they do not function or are destroyed we cannot get the necessary services.”
Zuma said South Africans should remember that the country was one of the driest on earth.
“Not a drop must be wasted, not a drop must be polluted, and all infrastructure developed must be cared for.
“Water is life. Let us conserve it, respect it and enjoy it.”
He said water was both a basic necessity and a basic human right.
“This is why this government prioritises the provision of water throughout the country to our people, especially to the poor who have been marginalised by successive apartheid regimes.”
The building of the dam was part of government's efforts to expand the supply of clean drinking water to all South Africans.
“Due to economic and population growth, urbanisation and other factors, the growth in water demand, as well as the drought since 2003, made it necessary for government to build more dams,” Zuma said.
The Spring Grove Dam, or Mooi Mngeni Water Scheme, provides water to six municipalities, including eThekwini metro, and the uMgungundlovu district and Msunduzi local municipalities.
Zuma said government invested more than R1 billion in the project, which was also designed to create jobs.
“I am glad that during the course of the construction of this very important piece of infrastructure, a total of 960 people were employed in this project.”
Zuma said government was prioritising infrastructure development to speed up socio-economic development.
“Through our national infrastructure plan we are building dams, bridges, roads, refurbishing schools, hospitals, ports and airports and also building power stations to boost electricity supply,” he said.
“It is an exciting programme which is changing the face of the country.”