As Eskom hopes to raise its tariffs in order to replace antiquated infrastructure, it has come to light the water infrastructure in South Africa is also in a dire state.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has reiterated the country is facing a water crisis. The organisation on Monday conducted a panel discussion with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry about the issues.

Many who attended agreed that SA is indeed a ‘water stressed’ country. The WWF’s Christine Colvin said trillions of rand was needed to replace and maintain the damaged infrastructure.

“I saw a figure published, which for all of the presidential infrastructure development plans was
R4 trillion over the next [more or less] 20 years.” She said mining also played a major role in the country’s water problems.

“Just the cost of cleaning up the asset mine drain in the Witwatersrand basin, the clean-up of the abandoned mines and the asset mine drainage that is now decanting, is going to cost more than R2 billion.”

Colvin added that 40% of our water was lost due to aging infrastructure. “We’re a water stressed country. We don’t have enough water resources to go around. Even once we get water in our managed infrastructure, nearly half of that leaks out of the system. This is a result of our aging infrastructure in most of our towns and cities.”