The Water for Rural Africa (WRA), a human-centered NGO is calling on the South African government to declare the current drought gripping through South-Western parts of the country as a national disaster in order for immediate actions to be taken to address the situation.
The NGO is also warning that the situation could have a significant impact on the supply of water in Cape Province of South Africa.
A statement signed and issued by the President of WRA, Dr Donald Cog Senanu Agumenu Thursday stated that the shortfall of water supply in parts of South Africa due to the drought could get worse rapidly if immediate actions are not taken to address the situation.
According to the statement, water scarcity could get rapidly worse as supply contracts and demand escalate due to growth, urbanization, unsustainable use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and a decrease in rainfall due to climate change.
It explains that the water situation needed to be treated as an emergency due to its far-reaching socio-economic impact on the lives of the people and the environment.
Below is the full statement:
The Water for Rural Africa (WRA) is warning that the current drought gripping the South-Western parts of South Africa could have significant impact on the supply of water in Cape Province of South Africa.
WRA is therefore calling for the situation to be declared a National Disaster for immediate actions to be taken to address the matter since water scarcity could get rapidly worse as supply contracts and demand escalate due to growth, urbanization, unsustainable use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and a decrease in rainfall due to climate change.
In order to mitigate the effects of this supply shortfall on lives in the Western Province, WRA is proposing to the National Authorities-Ministry of Water & Sanitation, and also the Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to implement the following as a matter of urgency:
1. Treat the situation as an emergency due to its far-reaching socio-economic impact to the lives of the people and the environment
2. Reprioritization of the whole process to address the effects of drought, and significant contributions that may be made by both civil society and the private sector to respond to needs of communities. The Department of Co-operative Governance to provide technical support and monitor projects to be implemented in the affected municipalities
3. Drilling and equipping of boreholes, borehole repairs, the implementation of water restriction systems, awareness campaigns, and the facilitation of disaster funding through National Treasury by the Department of Co-operative Governance
4. Long-term interventions could include water harvesting in urban and rural areas, including static tanks; preservation, rehabilitation and protection of ecological infrastructure such as wetlands and estuaries; eradication of illegal water use, and de-silting of dams and canals. Other possible strategies could be the building of dams, water buffering through land management, and the review of non-potable water usage, such as grey water systems.
Specific recommendations for AU and African Leaders:
(i) Up-scale the implementation of National Action Programme to combat desertification (NAPs) and other Sustainable Land Management (SLM) plans with a special focus on concrete on the ground community programs and activities with the objective of achieving measurable results on SLM and poverty reduction
(ii) Mainstream or Integrate systematically, priorities identified in the NAPs and other SLM processes into national development programs including national sustainable development and poverty reduction strategies in order to mobilize implementation resources, and to foster medium and long-term political commitment for drought mitigation and desertification control programs
(iii) Establish and promote incentives for and address barriers to agricultural development and sustainable land and other natural resources management
(iv) Strengthen the information base on drought and desertification and enhance knowledge application including thorough identification, documentation, dissemination, and sharing of best practices
(v) Link and coordinate measures for combating drought and desertification with those measures aimed at addressing climate change and biodiversity conservation so as to diversify resources available for implementation of NAPs and related programmes and thus upscale SLM
About Water for Rural Africa (WRA).
We are a development organization established to support and champion the realization of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation. It’s a non – governmental, not-for-profit, non-partisan organization working for the Social Development of the vulnerable and less developed communities in rural Africa. WRA is a Human – centered NGO, an implementing organization which designs and implements various developmental projects in the water and sanitation sector with the financial and technical support of international donor agencies and the government.
Dr. Donald Cog Senanu Agumenu
President, Water for Rural Africa