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National government takes control of all water distribution across SA

02 April 2020 - 20:07 By Sthembile Cele
Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Image: Gallo Images / Lauren Mulligan

Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu has announced the centralisation of water distribution through a Johannesburg-based command centre for the duration of the lockdown.

“We have centralised the direction of water, the procurement of all those things that provide you with water,” Sisulu announced on Thursday as part of the National Command Council’s report back on amendments to regulations guiding the nationwide lockdown.

“We have taken all our water and put it under one command centre, situated at Rand Water in Johannesburg, where all the commands around where water is concerned will be coming from.

“You will call to be able to get water, the command centre ensures that all water tanks we have procured are taken to the place identified as in need. Municipalities are responsible for identifying places where water tanks will go, all water tankers will be reporting on a regular basis to the command centre in Johannesburg. Anyone experiencing shortage of water, we direct there,” she said.

In the case of irrigation boards — in the main, farmers and individuals who own water rights — those boards will also be issued with directives to make water available to government.

Sisulu said that the department will be keeping a record of all the costing involved and irrigation boards will be able to claim back for those costs.

“We are centrally controlling all water in SA and we will direct it to where it is needed the most,” Sisulu emphasised.

A number of areas nationwide have been without water for months and some even years. Government is now caught up in a rush to ensure water supply given the need for around-the-clock hygiene practices to avert a Covid-19 crisis.

The Government has urged Communities in areas affected by water shortages to call 0800200200.