Communities across South Africa have been urged to continue working with government to mitigate the impact of the current drought by complying with the stringent measures and restrictions on water usage.
The shortage of rain has resulted in one of the worst drought and water shortages in the country and has forced municipalities to implement water restrictions.
"We need to take a proper program of action in dealing with this crisis. South Africans are stronger and unite better when tested, as such working together we can save water," said Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen.
The Minister, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on drought, had earlier met with member departments to look at the interventions geared towards mitigating the negative impact of the drought as a result of below normal rainfall, increased maximum temperatures and heat waves the country has experienced due to the El Nino weather patterns.
Even though El Nino effect has abated, there is a chance that the country might experience La Nina, the positive phase of El Nino, which might be characterized by heavy rains and floods. The Minister has therefore urged that plans must be put in place to handle any emergencies. The Minister urged all sectors and departments to engage communities across the country and explain the impact of this natural phenomenon.
National Disaster Management Centre head Ken Terry said all sectors in the country are affected by the drought, with agriculture being the worst. He said the availability of livestock feed and water for both human and livestock is another major challenge.
The conditions in the affected areas are further exacerbated by factors such as a poor state of water-related infrastructure, water losses and the lack of implementation of stringent water conservation measures.