Government has started a massive campaign to reduce the “unacceptably high” levels of water losses in South Africa’s distribution system.
Speaking during her department’s R5,3 billion budget vote speech in the National Assembly last week, water affairs minister Lindiwe Hendricks said there were still “unacceptably high levels of water losses in our system, high levels of wastage, and inefficient use of water”.
Some of the planned interventions to curb wastage include: A national water-wise campaign; The investigation of the possible development of water conservation and demand management regulations; Ministerial awards next year that will be given to those who have excelled in the area of water saving and demand management; Establishment of a national water use efficiency information system to share ideas and approaches to improving the state of water use efficiency in our country; and The possibility of introducing a national fund to support municipalities and other qualifying water users to implement water saving. Hendricks said the new pricing strategy for charges for water use, which came into effect on 1 April this year, makes provision for, among other things, the establishment of a waste discharge charge system that is based on a “polluter pays” principle. “This system aims to promote the efficient use of water by recovering costs associated with mitigating resource quality impacts of waste discharge on our water resources.” In what was her first budget speech, Hendricks said that she had learned over the past year just how important water, sanitation and forestry was to society, “and the contribution these sectors play in economic development, social upliftment and in our quality of life”. – BuaNews