Private dams only 10% of our water … not the answer
But the country’s 4 000 privately owned dams would not translate to a solution to the country’s water access problems, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation.
“I think people only look at the fact that 4 000 dams are privately owned as compared to the 320 dams owned by government, when actually the capacity of [the latter] is about 90% of the water available in the country.
The 4 000 private dams are also spread in terms of ownership and their existence within the law.
Water resource expert Anthony Turton said Chauke’s statements were more political than practical, given that water resources were already nationalised in 1998 under the National Water Act, a law he said government had failed to implement.
“I would argue that the problems we are having in the country are a manifestation of the act; that the resource has been nationalised when the government lacks the capacity to manage that resource.
And now we want to nationalise even more, and this is just a bankrupt, ideological argument.” In a bid to lend a hand to government in alleviating the Cape Town water crisis, farmers from the Overberg region began the release of 10 billion litres of private water into Cape Town’s reticulation system.
For instance, it is farmers’ money that created our dams, and billions went into creating the dams in our valley and that is all privately funded dams that were built 40 years ago with the thought that one day we may need a little more.
“To nationalise [those] dams, what are you going to do with that?
The GWUA said it regularly pumps billions of litres of surplus water into Cape Town’s system, depending on the supply available in that year.
Our water surplus varies between nine billion litres up to 27 billion.