Gauteng is facing a water crisis, and the provincial government has set up a “war room” to fight the problem.
The Sunday Times reported that “local, provincial, and national government” is working with civilian and military water experts as part of the project.
The aim of the war room is to reduce the amount of water being consumed in the province and to fix sewage plants which are very run down.
The SANDF has been given instruction to ensure “day zero” – the province running out of water – does not happen.
All the action is based on a report called “Water Security Plan for the Gauteng City Region”, which was ordered at the time of Cape Town’s water shortage.
Findings in the report include:
- Gauteng residents consume over 300 litres of water a day – the highest in the country.
- Gauteng’s population is growing by almost 300,000 a year.
- Raw sewage is the biggest contributor to water pollution.
- Drinking water from Lesotho is used to flush pollution out of the Vaal River System.
The sewage problem is made worse by the fact that of Gauteng’s three water treatment plants, two were not operational.
The army is currently working to fix these facilities and their pump houses, added the report. The facilities have been described as similar to those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which the army helped repair after “years of war and neglect”.
Cape Town crisis
The problems in Gauteng, in terms of drinking water running out, have been faced by Cape Town after its dam levels dropped dangerously low in recent years.
Cape Town’s water crisis saw the drought-hit city come within 90 days of turning off the taps earlier in 2018.
Fortunately, Cape Town residents reduced their water usage and the risk of water running out in the city has subsided somewhat. This saw residents showering with buckets at their feet so water could be reused, and the flushing of toilets restricted.
“Regardless of rainfall or water supply augmentation, Cape Town needs to continue striving to reduce average daily consumption to 450 million litres a day,” the City said in March 2018.