Everything you need to know about the 'water crisis' in SA

Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Image: Gallo Images / Lauren Mulligan

Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu is concerned about “water stress”.

At a briefing on Monday, she said the water shortage was a result of high temperatures and very low rainfall.

Here's what you need to know:

What is happening?

Sisulu said dam levels were low due to poor rainfall.

“We are experiencing what we call ‘water stress’. We are facing hard realities now and have to immediately begin to disaster-proof SA.”

She urged South Africans to use water sparingly or face catastrophic consequences.

“As we work hard to avoid much-dreaded day zero, I will be announcing restrictions on water usage.”

Who is affected?

According to Sisulu, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State were among the provinces experiencing shortages.

She insisted there was no need to panic, but called on consumers to use water sparingly.

“The situation is very serious, but it is under control.”

What's the plan?

TimesLIVE reported that Sisulu said there was a master plan to deal with the crisis and that it would be announced in November. 

“We are looking at new infrastructure. We are also looking at different methods of piping and at different ways of sourcing fresh groundwater,” she said.

Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai said water consumption had risen and that appeals to the public to use water sparingly appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.

“Water consumption has gone up because people are not using water for the purpose it is intended. People are using water to feed pools and for gardening.”

What's “Day Zero”?

“Day Zero” was introduced by Cape Town in 2017 to focus residents' attention on managing water consumption by reducing usage.

It was the day city officials would cut off water supply to 75% of the city. More than a million households would have been affected. Fortunately, Day Zero was averted.


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