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Government aims to plug water leaks

Cape Town – Government is pinning hope on its ability to plug leaking pipes, reduce pollution and “stretch” resources to stave off a looming fresh water crisis.

“We don’t want development to be held back by a lack of water, or lack of access to water,” water affairs acting deputy director-general for regulation, Helgard Muller, told reporters in Pretoria on Monday.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa earlier said a new study showed the funding needed over the next 10 years for new water infrastructure was now R670bn, up from the estimate of R573bn she gave earlier this year.

“The funding gap is R338bn over this [10-year] period,” she said.

New water tariff policy

“We’re not saying it will all come from the fiscus now; we’re looking… at various other mechanisms where there are funds that are not necessarily adequately and properly used, so we can re-channel these.”

“It is highly likely that if we do our billing systems and water metering properly, billing the right people… we will realise income that will not [make it necessary] to have lesser (sic) people paying more for their water.”

There might, however, be a need for cross-subsidisation.

Water risk

According to the NWRS South Africa’s past 16 years of above-average rainfall was a period that might be drawing to a close.

“This trend is unlikely to continue.”

It further warns of the water risk facing the country’s economy.

“Water risk to business is real. Companies across several industry sectors should start to take the lead in quantifying their exposure to water risk, and should develop plans to mitigate these risks,” it advises.

The country is ranked the 30th driest in the world.

Source: News 24


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