Water crisis deepens in South Africa’s urban centres

South Africa’s cabinet convened to address the escalating water crisis plaguing Gauteng and eThekwini, notably exacerbated by surging population growth, dilapidated infrastructure, and power disruptions hampering reservoir replenishment.

In the eThekwini Municipality, post-2022 floods worsened water crisis, particularly in Durban’s northern regions like Phoenix, Tongaat, and Umhlanga, where residents endure worsening shortages.

Gauteng’s water crisis intensifies

Meanwhile, Gauteng is experiencing severe water shortages across the province, affecting millions. The crisis spares no one, as both affluent and impoverished residents grapple with severe shortages. Besides scorching temperatures depleting reservoirs, decades of infrastructure neglect compound the issue.

According to BusinessTech, “Rand Water systems are under severe pressure,” the City of Tshwane, which includes the capital Pretoria, said in a statement.
“The entire water supply system, which we share, is under strain.”

To mitigate the crisis, the cabinet reviewed progress on projects like Lesotho Highlands Water Phase 2 and Umkhomazi Water, aimed at bolstering water resilience.

Additionally, the Department of Water and Sanitation collaborates with affected cities to revamp aging infrastructure and curb water losses.

Water Task Team to resolve the water provision challenges

In response, the cabinet established a Water Task Team, led by Deputy President Paul Mashatile, dedicated to resolving the country’s water provision challenges. Comprising various ministries including Water and Sanitation, COGTA, Human Settlements, Public Works, Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, and Police, the team will spearhead concerted efforts to alleviate the crisis.

The formation of the Water Task Team underscores the gravity of the situation and the government’s commitment to addressing it comprehensively.

With urban centers grappling with increasingly dire water shortages, concerted action is imperative to safeguard the well-being of millions and ensure sustainable water access for generations to come.


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