Researcher declares water crisis over

Unpredictable weather is enough reason for residents to use water sparingly.

NEWCASTLE CBD – Water saving should not be an event, but a lifestyle.

Although Customer Relations Manager for the municipality, Dr Dumisani Thabethe has stated the water crisis is over, he expressed concern at climate change and the unpredictability of future weather.

Bearing that in mind, he has called on residents to conserve water.

“You will recall that before the rains, our lowest level recorded in the dam was 40 per cent including the sludge.”

The Newcastle area was fortunate to have received massive rainfall, but cautioned other parts of the country were still in the grips of the drought.

Therefore, residents needed to save water as if the last drop was in the taps.

Responding as a researcher, and not in his official role, Dr Thabethe said it was time for effective and efficient planning in order to sustain local water provision.

He added water supply was a limiting factor to Newcastle’s development.

“This inverse proportion of housing development and water resources will soon create tension between officials and politicians. Hence I am saying we need proper planning and consultation with all stakeholders.”

Dr Thabethe urged residents to understand the need to put development on hold.

He explained it would not help to build reservoirs across the Newcastle area if there was insufficient water to fill the structures.

“We need to aggressively and seriously consider building a second dam. This will relieve the Ntshingwayo Dam from the strain of supplying Newcastle, Amajuba and uMzinyathi [districts].”

A second option mentioned by Dr Thabethe was to look into recycling water, as waste water from treatment plants was being routed back into the rivers.

He also believes reusing mine water needs to be revisited.

Dr Thabethe said it was high time residents and officials became proactive and dealt with water challenges head-on.

“Someone needs to apply his or her mind to the monthly reports which are prepared and submitted.”

While the submission of the reports needed to be compliance-based, Dr Thabethe said they also needed to stimulate thinking and demand resources be made available.

He also noted water loss through dilapidated infrastructure and poor maintenance.

“I am however very positive that this situation can change, and it must. Changing the mindset is all we need, and to plan for change accordingly.”

Bruce Douglas

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