The TLU SA is requesting people to supply them with photos and information about dirty municipal water and water sources in their areas to be used in a campaign to bring the poor quality of water across the country to the government’s attention.
Repair our water resources or get private institutions to get the job done. That is the message 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,” says 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.”
“But, first, South Africans must send us 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,” he says.
“Finally, we will pose an ultimatum to the government to repair our water resources within a specific timeframe, and if the government cannot succeed in this task, we will insist private institutions take over the work.”