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Engineers warn public to start preserving water

Experts warn that water shedding is a reality South Africans will have to face.

FILE: Picture:freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Leading civil engineers have warned that a water crisis does not strike like an electricity blackout, but creeps up on a country, slowly spreading like a cancer.

Engineering consulting firm Gibb hosted a roundtable this morning about the threat of water shedding in South Africa, exploring both the problems and the solutions.

The country's water problems have been compounded by a drought in some regions, poor maintenance of infrastructure and natural low levels of the precious resource.

Civil engineer Wiero Vogelzang has four decades of experience and says water shedding is a reality South Africa will have to face.

"It creeps up on you, it's like a cancer, and then you know it's too late."

He says political will is required to increase budgets and to head off the problems, such as massive wastage of water through badly maintained infrastructure.

Vogelzang says massive amounts of water are being lost around the country and people must urgently realise the value of every drop.

He says bigger budgets and new partnerships are required.

Vogelzang says, "Water shedding is a reality that we're going to have to accept at some stage. The level of it is going to be different in different areas."

He says population growth is another factor, as is the political will to address the situation.