South Africa is being negatively affected by droughts in several parts of the country. According Minister of Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa receives less water than the global rainfall average.
During a presentation hosted on Tuesday, December 3, Sisulu said that this puts an immeasurable strain on the delivery of water services to the general populace, as the natural rainfall is currently less than reliable. The areas where drought is currently being experienced include the Western Cape, North West Province, the Eastern Cape, and the Free State.
“The recent drought, the worst for many decades, has also not helped the situation as we can see the very negative impact on the country’s economy, especially on the agricultural sector, affecting food security and exports,” she said. “As the water and sanitation sector, we need to look at new ways of providing the services that we are responsible for.”
To combat the ongoing drought crisis, the National Government will implement the following measures in stricken areas:
– implement drought operating rules
– introduce borehole drilling and/or rehabilitation
– use water tankers to help areas in need
– harvest rainwater and condensation from fog
– protect natural springs and use these as sources of water
– seed clouds
– make use of evaporation suppression
– desalination of seawater, as well as water considered brackish
– making use of effluent treatment, as well as the re-use of water
Many were interested when Sisulu mentioned the use of cloud seeding. In its basal form, this means to drop crystals into the clouds that cause rain.
Nearly 150 countries have experimented with cloud seeding techniques on a regular basis. These include Australia, Austria, Canada, China (the world’s heaviest user), England, France, India, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, are among them.
China spends over $90-million per year in cloud seeding projects, while the US spends $15-million and growing.
“We will use various technologies in combination with current strategies as we outlined in our master plan,” said Sisulu. “We are working together with Rand Water and other specialists in providing new technologies that will help us in our quest to ensure the security of water supply. During the launch of the master plan at the CSIR in Pretoria, we saw various technologies, which we believe would play an important role in our drive to ensure that we provide uninterrupted water services to all.”