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CSIR: Systems sufficient to meet SA's water demands

CSIR says restrictions that are being imposed in parts of the country are mainly precautionary measures.

FILE: A tap. Picture: Freeimages

JOHANNESBURG - The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says the current systems South Africa has in place are sufficient to meet the country's immediate water demands but sustainable methods need to be explored.

The council says water restrictions that are being imposed in parts of the country are mainly precautionary measures but should still be adhered to.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has requested a 15 percent consumption reduction in Johannesburg, which officials say has an exceptionally high consumption rate.

Now Johannesburg Water is expected to implement water restrictions which could see residents fined up to R1500 for non-compliance.

The CSIR's Marius Claassen says South Africa will need to implement a combination of strategies to find a long term solution.

"The long-term solution is a balance of everything that we can do to use water more efficiently, to reuse water more often. To manage our reservoir infrastructure because I don't think there's one simple solution that's going actually get us out of this."

The restrictions include bans on irrigation during the day, filling up of swimming pools using municipal water and using hosepipes to wash cars.

Johannesburg Environment MMC Anthony Still says that when it comes to car wash businesses, only the use of buckets or automatic systems will be allowed.

Still says that a flat fine will be issued to those who break the rules.

"The only change we've introduced to level two is to say you can't use sprinklers. Before there was no restriction on using sprinklers outside the restricted hours but this time we're saying no sprinklers at all."

Meanwhile, the CSIR says that despite the implementation of water restrictions in Johannesburg, a crisis point hasn't yet been reached.

The CSIR says these are mainly precautionary measures and don't signal a disaster.

The organisation's Marius Claassen says: "The provincial issue is around rainfall agriculture, but in terms of water supply and the restrictions in terms of urban water use that's slightly a different issue because there's still lots of water available in our dams.

"It's just that we need to use that water carefully to make sure that it's going to last until we start receiving more rain."