South Africa is currently facing a national water crisis as severe drought and falling dam levels have already taken a toll on the lives of the people.
Taking note of the serious situation, the South African government on Monday urged the people to restrict water usage as reservoir levels drop and rainfall is not expected until December, reported Reuters. Emergency measures have been imposed to restrict water use and improve supply infrastructure.
“We are working hard to avoid the much-dreaded Day Zero phenomenon and instead we are announcing restrictions on water usage,” Lindiwe Sisulu, the water and sanitation minister, told journalists during a press conference.
“Day Zero” is a situation where taps run completely dry despite rationing and restrictions.
Sisulu said the rainfall patterns in the country are getting harder to predict. She warned that the dry season is getting longer, harsher and more intense globally all due to climate change.
The water minister said the government will announce a master plan for water next month. She warned that water deficit will be a real thing by 2030 if people continue to use water in the same way as they are using today. South Africa’s water consumption per person per day per liter, at around 320 liters, which is double the global average rate of consumption.
“The possibility of a water deficit is real by 2030 if we continue using it as we use it now,” Sisulu said.
Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO of the Water Research Commission, said upgrading infrastructure is a high priority, and the country will look at municipally run systems that will recycle as much as 70% of the water used.
Notably, South Africa ranks as one of the top 30 most water-scarce countries in the world. The situation worsened after the el- Nino induced drought that hit southern Africa in 2015, and decades of water-intensive industry and a collapsing network of infrastructure.