AfriForum intervenes with blue and green drop project to address water crisis


AfriForum yesterday unveiled its blue and green drop project for 2017 in Randfontein and is busy mobilising teams across the country to test drinking water and sewage quality in towns where AfriForum has active branches.

“It is clear that Government is not serious about the health of the people of South Africa, as five years have elapsed since the last official Blue and Green Drop Reports. The ANC government attempts to hide their incompetence by withholding information from the public and even Parliament. The water crisis affects regular people the most and because we can no longer rely on Government, we have to test water quality ourselves,” says Chris Boshoff, Environmental Affairs Coordinator at AfriForum.

“AfriForum last year ensured that seven million people’s drinking water met the set standard by performing tests that were devised by the University of the Free State. Polluted drinking water can make people seriously ill. AfriForum will ensure that any pollution is addressed as soon as possible by getting a court interdict against the involved municipality and demanding that the problem be rectified within 48 hours,” says Marcus Pawson, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

Boshoff says that AfriForum is worried about the Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS’s) poor management and strategy implementation. Other worries include:

  1. The DWS once again failed to publish the official Blue and Green Drop Reports, which provide a picture of the country’s water quality and management. Parliament received a report from 2014 in January this year and expressed its disappointment that information on water in South Africa was so outdated.
  1. During a drought, the dilution of sewage and other wastewater in rivers and water sources is minimal as a result of the decrease in natural water flow, which in turn increases pollution concentration in water sources and exacerbates health risks as a result of water usage activities downstream.
  1. Government is the greatest polluter of water in South Africa, because every day 4 200 megaliter of sewage that does not adhere to applicable health standards finds its way into rivers and dams.
  1. Municipalities lose more than 40% of drinking water as a result of leaking water pipes, but are never brought to book.
  1. According to a 2013 report done by the DWS, only 21% of systems had the necessary number of supervisors in terms of service requirements, while 66% of these systems are managed by supervisors who do not have the necessary qualifications.
  1. According to a 2015 report done by the World Health Organisation, an estimated 9% of infant deaths in South African can be attributed to polluted water.
  1. The DWS – as the custodian of water – does not fulfil its duties.
  1. The DWS does not apply legislation when municipal authorities are the culprits.
  1. Despite the large number of water-related problems the DWS paid back R827 million to National Treasury as the money had not been spent in the 2015/2016 financial year.

AfriForum is of the opinion that an independent water regulator will still be able to play a significant role in South Africa and possibly improve water quality, provision and management.

“If South Africa had an independent water regulator who would not be susceptible to political interference and would enforce water and service legislation, we would have had fewer leakages, public complaints and protests, cleaner rivers and dams, healthier communities, a growing economy and more water,” Boshoff says.

Is your water clean? SMS the name of your town to 45354 and give AfriForum the mandate to test the water quality of your town. Each SMS costs R1.

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