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First, we had loadshedding, the government’s euphemism for power blackouts in South Africa, which is a bane for our citizens, weighing down the economy and deterring investment. Now, the government has come up with another obscure word, ‘water-shifting’. It is loadshedding for water services that residents of Gauteng have experienced in the past months, especially those in higher-lying areas like Brixton where the supply was cut off for 3 weeks. In an interview with Biznews, water resource management expert, Professor Tony Turton from the University of the Free State, says this policy is an admission by the government that the water supply system in South Africa has failed. The water issue, he says, is not one of scarcity. Dams and rivers are currently at their highest levels in two decades. The core issue lies in the mismanagement and distribution of water, primarily within metropolitan areas. Professor Turton says the blame for the failures should not be shifted to consumers. High water usage figures are due to leakage rather than excessive consumption. He said it is not all doom and gloom as control over water supply is now being wrested away from the government through private initiatives, similar to what happened in the electricity sector. Professor Turton does not see boreholes as the solution due to their low yield and contamination issues, particularly in Johannesburg after 120 years of mining activities. Ultimately, he said, South Africa faces a difficult choice, and the country will have to start recycling, recapturing, and retreating water.

Linda van Tilburg

 

Source: BizNewsTv

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