Home PodcastJulie Alli “If You Have it Today, You May Not Have it Tomorrow,” said Professor Faizal Bux Regarding the Water Crisis

“If You Have it Today, You May Not Have it Tomorrow,” said Professor Faizal Bux Regarding the Water Crisis

by Thaabit Kamaar
Photo by [Humanitarian Global]

Professor Faizal Bux, Director at the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT) based at the Durban University of Technology, said statistics indicate the current global attitude towards water and the way we treat the resource will have dire implications for billions of people. Accordingly, we as civilians need to change how we utilise and consume water and not exacerbate the water crisis in our country.

“[At the] current rate … [Approximately] 1.6 billion people globally will lack safely managed drinking water, 2.8 billion people will lack safely managed sanitation and 1.9 billion people will lack basic hand hygiene. It is frightening statistics. It’s time that we address this matter and not just expect the government to do its bit, but we as consumers, we need to [approach this issue] with behavioural changes.”

Therefore, World Water Day is celebrated annually worldwide on 22 March. The day is meant to spread awareness regarding the global water crisis. Reports suggest the initiative aims to achieve a sustainable water supply and sanitation by 2030. This year’s theme is accelerating “change to solve the water and sanitation crisis”.

Water is essential to all life on earth. Yet, many people do not have access to clean drinking water. Therefore, the responsibility is on us as citizens and the government to ensure the resource is used sparingly.

“[We need to] make sure we do not waste … If you have it today, you may not have it tomorrow … All of us together can conserve this precious resource.”

Is the Water Safe to Drink in Durban?

Last year, floods caused by heavy rainfall and blocked drainage systems in Kwazulu-Natal affected various, already decaying, water treatment and pump infrastructures. As a result, rivers and beaches in the province were contaminated with waste.

Over the last few months, 18 water samples were taken across the greater Durban region to determine the quality of the water and whether it was fit for consumption. Confidently Bux said the water met the South African water standards and was safe to drink in the Durban area.

When asked if he drinks tap water in Durban, Bux responded, “Absolutely … I personally drink Durban tap water because I am aware of the quality of the tap water.”

However, due to multiple water treatment facilities and pump stations which still need to be fully operational in the province, the distribution issues might still affect some areas. Therefore, people should maintain caution.

SMread| Robertsham residents struggling with month-long water shortage

The Water Crisis in South Africa

The water crisis in South Africa can be ascribed to natural occurrences and the poor maintenance of water treatment plants and pump stations.

The latter affects water supply and distribution to areas in various provinces. Sites such as Robertsham in Johannesburg, where residents have had little to no water for weeks.

Bux said it is an unfortunate situation given the substantial and consistent amount of rainfall in South Africa. Nearly all the dams exceed 100% capacity due to rain. Yet, people still do not have access to clean and drinkable water.

“There has not been adequate maintenance of the distribution network. Some of those pipes are more than 50-60 years old … Clearly, there should have been plans in place to replace those old pipes. So, it’s a cause for serious concern.”

He adds that local governments must have measures to ensure that the water demands are met since the populations have been growing in all the major cities across the country.

Watch the full discussion here.

Related Videos