National 9.9.2016 08:30 am

Additional water restrictions are in pipeline

Photo: Randburg Sun

Photo: Randburg Sun

Despite recent rainfall, drought conditions had not improved and dams across the country were at their lowest levels in years.

Continued drought conditions have resulted in more than an average 10% drop in water supply from dams across SA.

Briefing the media in parliament yesterday, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen, on behalf of the interministerial task team on drought, said that last year, the national dam levels were estimated at 64.3% of normal full supply.

Since then, however, there had been a drop in storage quantity to 53% as at September 5.

“The long-range forecast shows a below normal expected rainfall and, therefore, little relief is anticipated in the coming months,” said Van Rooyen.

Although some areas were receiving rain and there was flooding in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the drought conditions had not improved and dams across the country were at their lowest levels in years.

This meant more water restrictions.

“One area that we think we’ll have to look at is to intensify … the introduction of water restrictions … in all municipalities, not only in Gauteng. We might also need some more financial resources because the expectation of more rainfall is something that might not be realised,” he said.

Food security and its result on prices were also concerning. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana said the “situation is bad”.

The country had to rely more on imports of seeds and fertiliser. Currently, 5.9 million tons of maize were being imported. However, including South African production, there were still 4 million tons less than was previously available.

Earlier this year, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries told MPs that 26% of the population had inadequate access to food, meaning 14 million people were possibly going to bed hungry.

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