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Mokonyane blasts water wastage in JHB northern suburbs

Govt says 46 percent of Gauteng's drinking water is being used recklessly to water gardens.

More than R500 million has been set aside for drought relief efforts. Picture: freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says South Africa's national dam capacity is currently sitting at 64 percent - that's 10 percent lower than the same period last year.

More than R500 million has been set aside for drought relief efforts.

The bulk of this is to service five provinces that have been declared disaster areas.

However, Mokonyane says provinces like Gauteng are facing water shortages that can be addressed with better consumption habits.

Government says 46 percent of Gauteng's drinking water is currently being used recklessly to water gardens.

The water and sanitation minister says the high water usage is isolated to certain communities.

"The pattern also indicates that it's the northern suburbs and not Soweto and we definitely have to look at that. It's the sprinklers, it's car washing, it's business as usual with many bathtubs and everything we are doing in the northern suburbs."

At same time, the Environmental Affairs Department says the effects of the El Niño climate system are only expected to weaken during winter next year.

At the moment the system is resulting in drought patterns in some countries including South Africa.

The department says it hasn't been caught off-guard and insists it's been monitoring long term impacts.

South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa says forecasters have already warned that heatwaves will cause fires on farmland.

As part of government's inter-ministerial relief interventions, environmental experts will be working closely with other departments.

Molewa says forecasters are continuously monitor long term impacts and studying patterns.

"We know that this cycle comes after every five years and not seven years because of climate change; we expect it and have to continue to plan."