BELA-BELA – As an offensive leveled against Limpopo residents’ struggle in accessing portable water, Limpopo Provincial Government hosted a water and sanitation summit at A Forever Resort in Bela Bela on Tuesday.
The provincial summit enjoyed the attendance of Limpopo Premier, Ambassador Chupu Mathabatha, MECs, Executive Mayors and Mayors from municipalities across the province and parastatals leaders including other strategic role players in the field of water and sanitation.
This year’s summit, a follow up to the 2015 hosted in Tzaneen, specifically focused on the provisioning of bulk infrastructure and water resource planning, water reticulation, economic development support water, water treatment works and rural sanitation and operations and maintenance.
Premier Mathabatha said the summit would have betrayed its purpose if it did not come up with practical, workable and lasting solutions to water supply challenges and they expected nothing less than that.
Mathathaba said there could be no denying to the fact that the country and the province in particular was still recovering from the effect of drought and that the reality had worsened the situation with regard to the delivery of water to communities.
The Premier added: “Commercial consumers have also been severely and negatively affected by the effects of the drought. Experts are warning us to get used to these drought conditions. This reality is imposed on us by the phenomenon of global warming. This shortage of water supply has also had a negative impact on the implementation of LDP targets. The bold plans we have enumerated in the LDP are dependent on the availability of realizable and sufficient water supply.”
H e said it was impossible to grow the economy without water playing a major role in that regard and that the task to industrialise the economy required abundance and reliability of water supply.
“Even foreign investors would first ask questions about the reliability of water supply before they can commit their resources to any project. Our very target to reduce the backlog of access to decent sanitation facilities in the province requires water. At some stage some municipalities have had to put a moratorium on new settlement developments because of this challenge of supply of water,” said Mathabatha.
Mathabatha emphasized on required levels of partnership and integrated planning between the national department, provincial government and municipalities to succeed with plans on water supply.
He added: “For example, for our Provincial Water Master Plan to realise its intended objectives, it should be aligned to the IDP priorities of our municipalities which are Water Service Authorities.”
Mathabatha said in that regard, they would be able to address the problematic challenge of having water in bulk yet communities not being able to access such water.
“The story of De Hoop Dam is well documented. The government has spent billions of Rands developing that infrastructure, yet communities around the place are not having access to water. In this regard, the department and municipalities must accelerate the plans that are already in the pipeline to ensure that the water reaches our communities,” said Mathabatha.