Repair our water resources or get private institutions to get the job done. That is the message agricultural union TLU SA wants to send the Department of Water and Sanitation and the government with a new campaign about water.
According to the 2019 Water and Sanitation Masterplan, 56% of the 1,150 municipal wastewater treatment works and 44% of the 962 water treatment works are weak or critical, with 11% being utterly dysfunctional. The main reason for our dirty water is the deterioration of water treatment works because of municipal corruption, mismanagement and incapable staff. Furthermore, the rivers and dams are polluted because of poverty leading to poor housing and inadequate prosecution of polluters.
“The poor quality of our water not only holds a risk for the availability of drinking water but also for the sustainability of agriculture,” said Steven Vermaak, the chairperson of TLU SA’s environmental committee. “The more we have polluted urban water resources, the more we have to turn to agricultural water for clean water. The less agriculture has clean water, the less sustainable agriculture becomes, and the more farms are sold. The less commercial farmers can deliver agricultural products, the less food we have available in the country. South Africa is heading towards famine.”
With this campaign, TLU SA wants to bring the poor quality of water across the country to the government’s attention. TLU SA asks South Africans to send photos of the dirty water in their area. These photos will then form part of a report to the department and government.
“We are hopeful that the Blue and Green Drop projects will come to life again because one of the primary tasks of the department, in terms of the National Water Act, is to inform the public about the quality of river and tap water,” said Vermaak. “It is impossible to solve the problem if the department does not even know the extent of the problem.”
The minister for water and sanitation must also regulate all roleplayers in the water value chain but fails.
TLU SA demands the department do the following:
- Determine the status of water resources to calculate the measure of repair needed;
- Appoint competent, experienced people at municipalities and water authorities with a grasp of the problem and who would be able to react quickly;
- Act in terms of legislation against those who pollute and dump sewage in dams and rivers;
- Hold the Water Research Commission responsible for executing its mandate.
“Finally, we will pose an ultimatum to the government to repair our water resources within a specific timeframe,” said Vermaak. “If the government cannot succeed in this task, we will insist private institutions take over the work.”
You can support the campaign at this link: https://tluveldtogte.co.za/watersake/ or send your photos by WhatsApp to 060-735-3557.