DA spurs EC Legislature to act on water crisis

Issued by Vicky Knoetze, MPL
Shadow MEC for COGTA

A motion brought by the Democratic Alliance calling for the implementation of a Water Security Master Plan for each Eastern Cape Municipality has spurred the EC Legislature to act on the water crisis.

The Kouga Local Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipalities have already started running out of water. This is disastrous as households, businesses, schools and hospitals will be left to function without water and sanitation, which will bring the economy of the entire province to its knees.

It is estimated that thousands could lose their jobs, which would result in a humanitarian crisis. This situation must be prevented at all costs, and other municipalities need to take heed and put their own plans in place.

Following a debate on the motion, the motion was overwhelmingly supported in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature last week.

A Water Security Master Plan will now have to be drafted for each municipality in the Eastern Cape under the auspices of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and must include:
1. The completion of a full audit of all water infrastructure in each municipality in the Eastern Cape.
2. The completion of quarterly audits of the quality of drinking water for each municipality in the Eastern Cape.
3. Innovative and locally appropriate strategies and alternatives to ensure access to water such as:
a. Portable Water Purification Units.
b. Extraction of Water from the Atmosphere as done in Kenya.
c. Water Recycling Solutions.
d. Rainwater harvesting provision and connection to all RDP housing developments.
4. Incentive Schemes for Household Water Recycling Units such as Hydraloop which is used in the Netherlands.
5. Incentives for the business and manufacturing sector for the re-use and recycling of water.

Government regulations must be put in place to support and incentivise these innovations.

Water is our most valuable resource. There is no substitute for it. Up until now, most people – including the government – has perceived problems related to water security as ‘imminent’, ‘impending’ and ‘looming’. The fact is that the crisis is here now, and if we do not start to treat water security as a priority, the water crisis will become a catastrophe.

We must undergo a paradigm shift in acknowledging the water crisis – this means that we cannot continue using water or thinking about water in the same way we did a year ago, or the same way we did yesterday.

The crisis is here now. The DA will continue to fight for the futures and livelihoods of all communities in the Eastern Cape.