South Africa is experiencing the worst drought in years. As this is a water-scarce country, ranking among the 30 driest in the world, the drought is having a seriously negative impact on the livelihood of human beings and animals.
The impact is so severe that it affects all facets of our lives. Prices of food are going up as the country can no longer produce sufficient agricultural products and we have to import basic supplies.
The current situation calls on all of us, black and white, government, the private sector and NGOs to come together and assist one another to prevent the loss of life.
I commend those who are still supporting the water-supply initiatives, as this shows we have the spirit of ubuntu. Government is doing its part to respond to the challenges of the drought through the interministerial task team on service delivery, with representation from different sectors.
The department of water and sanitation, as the sector leader, has already spent more than R500 million on drought intervention.
In her budget speech, Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane said that “to mitigate the effects of the drought on water users, the department has spent more than R500 million on emergency and short-term interventions in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, North West, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Western Cape and Northern Cape”.
The interventions include the War on Leaks programme, surface water resource management, drilling and equipping of boreholes, water carting, the provision of storage tanks and emergency water transfers.
The question to all of us, as citizens of the country, is: are we playing our part to assist government to mitigate the negative effects of the drought?
As a nation in the clutches of this devastating crisis, we need to ensure that the little water that is available is used in an efficient and sparing manner to ensure we all have access to a drop of the source of all life.
Water is a scarce commodity, therefore we need to combat leaks in our households and communities to ensure we do not lose water unnecessarily as a drop of water lost is a drop too much – leading us closer to a water shortage, especially during this drought.
We need to fix all leaks in our homes, report all leaks to the municipalities and push the municipalities to fix any leaks and burst pipes as a matter of urgency.
Our water resources, mainly rivers and dams, are running critically low, which shows the severity of the drought.
This means there is little water available as a resource due to the lack of rain, our major source of water in the country. We must play our part in ensuring that what’s left of our water resources is protected from, mainly, pollution.
Pollution is a major source of potable water loss, as polluted water cannot be used and requires a lot of purification to be restored for human consumption.
The drought is with us and there is no easy way out; therefore we need to join hands and assist government in mitigating the negative impact of this devastating natural phenomenon.
We all need to play our part to ensure not a single soul is lost due to a lack of water as a result of our own irresponsible behaviour and actions.