File image: IOL.
Johannesburg - The government will unveil a master plan next month to deal with the current water crisis that has severely affected Gauteng in the past few months.

On Monday, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced at Rand Water offices in Glenvista, Joburg, that a plan had been developed to tackle the crisis that had hit Gauteng, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

Sisulu made an appeal to residents to use water sparingly as South Africa was experiencing higher temperatures and low rainfall.

“We are experiencing high temperatures and increased demand for water, however, we are also experiencing very low rainfall.

“Rainfall is difficult to predict in the short term but what is compounding our situation right now are indications that our rainfall will become harder to predict,” added Sisulu.

She said that the earliest that the country could expect the desired amount of rain was in December.

Sisulu added the country was under “water stress”.

However, she said people should not panic.

“We face harsh realities and are immediately to begin to disaster-proof South Africa and its security of water, which is vital,” the minister said.

She added that the climate system that influenced the country’s weather could not be altered, but the country needed to do whatever was possible to protect the water that was available.

Water Research Commission chief executive Dhesigen Naidoo said the changes in climate and temperature were not a once off and that there was a global need to step up water security and improve water infrastructure.

Naidoo said that infrastructure needed to be upgraded and there was also a need for new and different infrastructures, such as municipal-run recycling systems and more innovative ways to deal with waste.

Rand Water has imposed restrictions on water consumption in three provinces.

Rand Water chief executive Sipho Mosai said water consumption in the areas that it supplied had become unsustainable. It provided water to Gauteng, parts of North West, the northern regions of the Free State and parts of Mpumalanga.

Mosai said the water consumption had increased from an average of 4368megalitres a day to 5000 megalitres a day. Average consumption in Rand Water’s region had surged to 320litres a person daily as opposed to the global average of 170litres daily.

Mosai said consumption had increased because residents were using water mainly for non-drinking purposes, such as watering gardens.

Sisulu said her department and stakeholders had come up with a master plan that would be announced next month.

The Star