'Water shortage a reality by 2020'

Minister Edna Molewa says if South Africans do not work to conserve water, taps could run dry.

Water & Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. Picture: ANC

CAPE TOWN - Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has warned there could be a shortage of clean water if South Africans do not work to conserve it.

She was speaking at a New Age business breakfast on Monday morning.

Molewa said if South Africans continue to use water as if it is an infinite resource, the country may find itself in trouble.

However, she said government was confident its water strategy was geared towards sustainability and security of the country's water supply.

She also said her department was dealing successfully with the problem of acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand area. The problem is caused by the flow of polluted water from the old mining areas. Depending on the area, the water often contains heavy toxic metals and radioactive particles.

In March, Molewa revealed that a quarter of South African water was lost due to leaking water systems.

She also said 1.58 billion cubic metres of supplied water went unaccounted for each year.

According to research, the country could face water shortages by 2020.