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COVID-19 Interventions in Water Sector Outlined

April 28, 2020

Department of Water and Sanitation

The water and sanitation department plans to review the Standards for Basic Water Supply and adopt an interim rudimentary standard to speed up addressing the water supply backlog.

The department revealed this during a briefing to the portfolio committee on human settlements and water and sanitation on COVID-19 interventions during a virtual meeting this week.

Parliament had requested an update on steps being taken to combat COVID-19.

Other recommendations flowing from lessons learnt during the nationwide lockdown include reviewing the Grant Funding Model to allow for more efficient and effective water and sanitation infrastructure implementation, improving the coordination and functionality of command structures across the three spheres of government (monitoring, reporting and targeted implementation) and broadening the water mix to incorporate under-utilised water resources such as groundwater, return flows, Water Conservation and Water Demand and water tanks for households.

Going forward, the department also plans to monitor the quality of water supply, ensure that all tanks are transferred as assets to the responsible Water Services Authority asset registers, jointly develop a sustainable operations strategy for each system in order to reduce tanker hauling dependence such as ground-water exploration and water main connections, convert water tanks into a rudimentary water supply scheme to enhance accessibility and render support to the basic education department with water supply projects in vulnerable communities.

With regard to sanitation, the DWS is in the process of procuring containerised or clustered ablution facilities to serve as interim sanitation services particularly for high risk densely populated informal settlements.

The department also reported that the Water and Sanitation Command Centre at Rand Water has been set up that allows the department to link up daily with the DWS Provincial Heads, Water Boards across the country and municipalities.