News and updates from the continent

Technologies to manage water, sanitation in SA

Technologies to manage water, sanitation in SA

Jun 18, 2015

In a statement issued by Water & Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, the minister says her department is working on completing a comprehensive water plan for South Africa with the aim of managing the country’s scarce resource.

The Minister said the plan, which her department aims to finalise during the current financial year, will use innovative means and alternative technologies to manage water and sanitation in a country that she said needs to keep up with science and technology.

“In 2030, our country must enjoy water and security and water supply that is reliable and sustainable. To this end, the management of our water resources wisely is paramount.

“We are surely turning a new page from the past where access to water was a privilege enjoyed by a few in South Africa to a future where all South Africans will enjoy access to basic clean water and sanitation,” she said on Thursday during her Budget Vote speech in Cape Town.

The Minister said in a bid to restore the dignity of South Africans, the department planned to transform the different approaches to sanitation. The current methods of disposing human waste through flushing toilets that utilise drinking quality water is unsustainable.

“In this regard, we are currently looking at numerous technologies that will assist us to eliminate the use of clean drinkable water to dispose of human waste. We are determined to introduce low-water and no-water solutions as part of our efforts to deliver sanitation.”

This, the Minister said, would include the using of chemicals, grey water and other alternatives instead of using clean water to flush. She said the department was determined to educate people that it is not all about flushing.

The department is currently piloting the interim sanitation solution toilets in KwaZulu-Natal, among other areas. “A decent sanitation solution does not mean a flushing, water borne solution. This is a sanitation revolution we will lead and champion as a department,” she said.

Department making progress in eradication of bucket system

The Minister said her department has made much progress in eradicating the bucket system in formal areas.

“We have made significant strides towards the eradication of the bucket system. In 2014/15 alone, we successfully eradicated 20 560 bucket systems and we intend concluding the eradication of the bucket system programme in formal areas by December 2015,” she said.

She said the target the department set was eradicating 27 000 bucket systems in formal areas like townships.

The Minister said, meanwhile, the department has – working with the Department of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs – implemented the “back to basics” strategy to fast track delivery of water and sanitation.

She said 27 district municipalities and the Nelson Mandela Metro had been identified as areas in need of interventions through this programme.

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