Water Wednesday: Nelson Mandela’s commitment to water is a lesson to us all

In light of Mandela’s legacy, water users in SA need to be reminded that pollution of water has a negative impact on water quality. The late Madiba spoke of this negative impact during the World Summit on Sustainable Development held at the Water Dome, Johannesburg in 2002.

Madiba told the world that there is no future for everyone if water is not available. “Amongst the many things I learned, as a president of our country, was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, continent and indeed the world,” he said.

He pledged his continuous commitment to water safety in the country adding: “When I return, as I often do, to the rural village and area of my childhood and youth, the poverty of the people and the devastation of the natural environment painfully strike me. And in that impoverishment of the natural environment, it is the absence of access to clean water that strikes most starkly. That our government has made significant progress in bringing potable water nearer to so many more people than was previously the case, I rate amongst the most important achievements of democracy in our country.”

Statistics South Africa’s 2016 General Household Survey estimates that 88.8% of South African households have access to piped water, compared to 81.2% in 1996. Households in the Western Cape are most likely to have access to piped water, while those in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are the least likely to have access to piped water. While close to 90% of South African households can access piped water on an estimate, most of these households don’t have water running directly into their homes.

To make matters worse, South Africa is the 39th driest country in the world according to data by the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Aquastat database.

Madiba stressed the need for governments throughout the world to put water higher on the political and social agenda. “And I want to call on all of you here to help make water a lead sector of co-operation for development in the world,” he said.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has spearheaded the Clear Rivers Campaign which, among other things, teaches and also calls on everybody to conserve water and use the resource sparingly, but most importantly, to not pollute this life-giving means. They have invited thousands of South Africans to commit their 67 minutes to clean the rivers.

Here is your weekly dam update:

  • The Vaal River System consisting of 14 dams serving mainly Gauteng Sasol and Eskom is at 100.5%.
  • The Cape Town Dams System consisting of six dams serving mainly City of Cape Town this week is at 48.9%.
  • The KwaZulu-Natal Dam System is at 64.2% this week while Eastern Cape Dam System sits at 62.9%.

Here are the latest dam percentages throughout the country:

For a more in-depth rainfall update, visit WeatherSA or click here. For more information on the water storage levels across the country, visit the DWS site. For a comprehensive drought status report from the Department of Water and Sanitation, click here.

 

  AUTHOR
Caxton Central

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