Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Could we run out of water?

For a long period, South Africans enjoyed some of the cheapest electricity rates in the world. Our grid was well managed and power shortages were a figment of the imagination. Within a fairly short space of time we were reduced to scheduled and spontaneous load shedding and an uncertain future.

The ACDP has now drawn attention for strong, but important, remarks to the effect that the present government needs to look ahead towards a potential water crisis and take necessary action now rather than later. In industry they call it "preventative maintenance", as opposed to "reactive maintenance", which was how our electricity crisis was handled.

The full press release is available here:

Water has always been a national concern, hence what seemed to be a huge overreaction to the political crisis in Lesotho several years ago, owing to our considerable investments in the Highlands Water Project. What is of particular concern now is that we have a growing economic base in this country, with new consumer power and expenditure. For the same reason that our electricity supply fell short, we face the very real prospect that our once adequate water supply may also fall short of the new demand.

Compared to some of the droughts we've experienced over the last few decades, these have been good years as far as rainfall is concerned. This lends itself to the possibility that we're living a lot closer to the border line than we anticipated. A few years of drought could be very bad news.

Of course the problem of water supplies in South Africa has been well explored and I won't explore possible resources now. All that needs to be said is: let's learn from our experiences and prepare well for the future.

No comments:

DISCLAIMER: This blog serves as a commentary and the views presented are not necessary the official views of the ACDP. For official statements and contact details, visit: