Madibeng water supply improved

Pretoria - Government says it has moved quickly to address the water shortage in Madibeng and has urgently implemented the interventions announced by the Water Affairs Minister and North West Premier last week.

Progress made includes the installation of a third 600mm diameter pipe, which will enable an increased flow of water into the system and will accommodate about 200m3 of water per hour. The additional pipe will increase the water flow up to 750m3 pumped per hour.

"Upon switch on [on Thursday], the needs of more communities in the far flung and high lying areas, who were experiencing erratic supply, should now be relieved once the reservoir is augmented through the new pipe," said Water Affairs spokesperson Mava Scott.

The department has identified several other areas that may need attention now and in future, and will work around the clock to intervene in all problem areas, Scott said.

The department will continue to monitor the situation in Madibeng and surrounding areas. Members of the community who still experience erratic supplies should inform the municipality by calling 082 266 6051 or the Water Affairs toll free line on 0800 200 200.

North West Premier Thandi Modise confirmed yesterday that a political oversight committee would also monitor adherence to timeframes in the implementation of projects worth over R2 billion, which will be rolled out in areas with water challenges in the short to medium term.

Conserving water

Since the advent of democracy, access to drinking water has improved significantly. As in the 2010/11 period, access to water infrastructure at RDP standards or higher sits at 95%, while households with access to free basic water increased from 11.3 million in 2010/11 to 11.6 million households in 2011/2012 - an increase of about 300 000 households.

Through the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP) 18, South Africa has a 10-year plan to address the estimated backlog of adequate water supply to 1.4 million households and 2.1 million households to basic sanitation.

The water projects will provide new infrastructure, rehabilitation and upgrading of existing ones, as well as improve water management infrastructure.

South Africa is a water scarce country, and access to and preservation of water remains a critical part of government's development plan.

"As a water scarce country, South Africa has made great strides in harnessing this resource in support of a strong economy and a vibrant society. Water is central to the economy, as it intersects various sectors and has been an enabler and foundation for planning and development.

"This is achieved through effective water resources planning, infrastructure development and service delivery," said Scott.

He urged communities, business, society and government to join hands and work together to implement smarter water resource management.

Households, business and public places are encouraged to implement methods to improve water conservation and also support local government by paying their water bills.

Communities are urged to use the platforms that government has put in place, such as Izimbizo, to engage and interact with officials to address challenges.