With the country caught in the grip of a drought and conditions of extreme water scarcity, the Department of Water and Sanitation plans to build a R2 billion pipeline from the Gariep Dam to the Mangaung Municipality in the Free State.Minister Nomvula Mokonyane made the announcement during a press briefing held by the inter-ministerial task team dealing with the water crisis in the country. She said studies had already been conducted. Mokonyane also mentioned other measures that her department was looking at. “We are working with mines and other sectors to re-harvest water that is contaminated [and otherwise unusable]. South Africa is one of the countries that uses grey water least. We have identified 92 springs in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal for possible access,” she said.
In dealing with the current situation where five provinces have been declared drought disaster areas, the department has set aside millions to assist. The five provinces were the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State.“The Department of Water and Sanitation has taken the following measures to mitigate against the impact of the current drought: R352.6m initially and an additional R96.6m set aside to intensify and mitigate the effects of drought in KZN,” she said. The department had also purchased 45 18 000-litre water tankers for the distribution of water to affected areas, among other things. –News24wire (Karabo Ngoepe)