The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has reiterated its commitment to enhance sustainable water supply and sanitation services across the country.
This comes as the country battles the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and its brutal variant, affecting several municipalities identified as hotspots.
According to the department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau, the department is concerned about the water challenges experienced in various communities and is working to augment water supply.
“We are aware that there are communities which are severely affected and still lack reliable water supply. It is for this very reason that we continue to work closely with local municipalities to ensure delivery happens,” said Ratau.
Ratau noted that the department in the previous year targeted to provide the much-needed resources to more than 90 000 households across the country. However, 502 221 households were reached, exceeding the target by 406 987 households.
“We are committing to keep the momentum for such improved services even in the New Year, while also implementing long-term measures. We continue to support the local sphere of government with the implementation of Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grants projects to ensure adequate infrastructure that will meet the needs of communities,” Ratau said.
The department is implementing drought relief projects in areas adversely affected by the drought, including Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the Free State and Butterworth in Eastern Cape.
“In the previous year, we had committed to construct 70 drought relief projects – 88 projects were constructed, exceeding the target by 18 projects. This we achieved through collaborated efforts with other spheres of government”, he said.
He called on residents to play their role by reporting water infrastructure vandalism and water leaks, as well as using water sparingly. “People can reach out to their local authorities or use our call centre hotline on 0800 200 200.”
Heavy rains improve the water situation in FS, NC
Meanwhile, the department said the heavy rains in major parts of South Africa since the beginning of summer, have improved the country’s water situation substantially with dams figures indicate that the water resources are now almost 80% full.
According to the latest dam levels report released the department on Wednesday, the national average has soared from 60% to 76% in the past three months.
“With more rainfall predicted, it is likely that the country’s dams may reach 90% before the end of the rainy season at the end of March this year,” the department said.
It urged South Africans, especially those in rural areas, to take advantage of the current rains and harvest as much water as they possibly can in preparation for the dry winter season.