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South Africa’s water challenges

Sameera Casmod
07 September 2023 | 14:41 SAST
1-min read

South Africa dam levels as at 5 September. Information sourced from Department of Water and Sanitation
Picture: Afriwx

In an interview on Radio Islam International this morning, water expert Professor Anthony Turton shed light on the water situation in South Africa, particularly in Gauteng, as South Africa faces potential water challenges.

Professor Turton emphasised that South Africa currently doesn’t face a water scarcity problem, but rather an institutional and management issue. He stated, “It’s a failure on the municipal side of things, a failure of the reticulation system. It’s not an environmental scarcity. It’s an institutional issue.”

Contrary to drought-related concerns, the country’s dams are at near-full capacity, with some even exceeding 90%. Turton noted that the issue lies in the inability of institutions to efficiently deliver water to end-users due to challenges within the infrastructure and management systems.

Addressing concerns about the timing and location of rainfall, Turton highlighted the need for society to adapt to nature’s cycles. He stressed the importance of infrastructure in mitigating the impact of environmental variations, whether floods or droughts, on the economy and society.

Drawing lessons from Cape Town’s experience, Turton highlighted the role of stable governance. Cape Town’s more stable governance allowed for coherent plans, resource allocation, and infrastructure development. He noted that this stable governance model had made Cape Town stand out as an example of how different provinces in South Africa can address water and other resource-related challenges more effectively.

Turton concluded by discussing the broader significance of water management.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaiman Ravat.


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