With drought and poor infrastructure maintenance, it seems South Africa is on the verge of a national water crisis.

In recent months, taps have run dry in various provinces across the country.

In some areas, like Kimberley and Tshwane, it is a direct result of dire infrastructure and resource management. In the Eastern Cape, a crippling drought, coupled with meagre contingency plans, has left thousands without water.

The Western Cape knows the impact of drought all too well. Stringent water restrictions, dam rehabilitation projects and desalination schemes were instituted two years ago, when the City of Cape Town realised that its water supply would run out.

While Cape Town – and the greater Western Cape – managed to avert disaster, day zero still looms for the rest of South Africa.

Rand Water restrictions in Gauteng

Residents of Laudium, in Tshwane, were recently left without water when taps ran dry without notice. The shortage, resulting from infrastructure failures and restrictions, beset the region for four days.

Because of a recent heat wave in the area, schools were forced to close.  

A drop in dam levels in Limpopo has also caused water scarcity in Tzaneen, Mogalakwena, Modimolle, Bela Bela, Thabazimbi and Polokwane.

In the North West province, intermittent water disruptions, as a result of drought and poor planning, have forced government’s hand.

Eastern Cape has not seen proper rain in five months

The Eastern Cape has been the site of livestock deaths and failed crops as a result of the prolonged drought.nThe province has not seen proper rain in five months.

Councils in the following municipalities – Sarah Baartman, Chris Hani, Amathole, Alfred Nzo, and Nelson Mandela – have declared the drought a disaster and are actively seeking governmental assistance.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), the province will need at least R1 billion to combat the effects of the drought.

Government has offered up R3.2 million to the embattled region.

DWS to address South Africa’s water crisis

The problem, on a national scale, has grown too dire to ignore. As a result, the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, convened an urgent media briefing on Monday.

Sisulu will be joined by representatives of Rand Water and Gauteng’s local government.

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