With taps running dry in many parts of Gauteng, political manoeuvring and blame-shifting serve as distractions from the actual issues at hand.  WaterCAN, OUTA’s water division, emphasised the need for transparent and candid information concerning the water situation in Gauteng, and warns that the whole of SA is at a tipping point when it comes to water. 

The past couple of weeks have seen significant water supply disruptions in both the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane. Rand Water, who supplies both metros, has also encountered its share of challenges. While Johannesburg claims to implement level 1 water restrictions annually between September 1st and March 31st, Rand Water has accused Tshwane of failing to enforce these restrictions and maintaining a per capita water usage exceeding the global average. 

The additional complication of load shedding has exacerbated the situation, as insufficient backup power systems have hindered response efforts.

WaterCAN is calling for a unified commitment to resolve the water crisis, an earnest dissemination of accurate information to the public, and accountability for those responsible for mismanaging water delivery.

Dr Ferrial Adam, Executive Manager at WaterCAN, warns that not only South Africa, but the whole country is at a tipping point when it comes to drinking water, facing both dwindling quantities and compromised quality. “With another El Nino looming, we can anticipate hotter and drier – and even drought – conditions. We have to become more aware of saving, re-using and recycling water. This includes everybody, from individual consumers to water service authorities,” she emphasised.

Individual consumers can recycle shower or bath water in a bucket and use it to flush toilets, and install rainwater tanks for gardens. Authorities must address leaks and wastage in their systems, and vastly improve the treatment of wastewater before it is returned to rivers.

WaterCAN urges all South Africans to use water sparingly. “Saving water is everybody’s responsibility. Water is our most precious resource. Treat it as such.”