The thirsty future could arrive sooner than expected. The water crisis in South Africa is becoming more and more urgent and the search for continues alternative methods has come to be the countries number one priority. The country has an urgent need for highly skilled professionals in the water sector.
The battle to find experienced engineers with the right skills and ability among municipalities in South Africa, is at the heart of the poor water management and the drought is contributing 28% of the country's towns have insufficient water supply - according to Chief Engineer in the Department of Water and Sanitation, Allestair Wensley.
KwaZulu Natal has it worse
Even though Gauteng is among the less risky areas that might be affected by the drought, water shortage has reached crisis levels in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Water structures have collapsed and dams have low water levels. Sugar farmers are suffering and mills are closing due to the water crisis which has led to almost 40% of the people being unemployed. And with talks of another recession hitting the country, job losses are something that we certainly cannot afford right now.
However, water limiting programs have already been put into place and consumers and municipalities are advised to take note of water allocations available and use water sparingly.
KZN's Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said they are looking at various other solutions to shortage of water, including supplying affected communities with water tankers.
If any improvements are to be made regarding the issues of water crisis in our country, it needs to be addressed immediately.
Finding the missing link
The need for highly skilled professionals in the water sector is not just engineers, there's an urgent demand for, among others, hydrologists, economists, mathematicians, scientists, fitters and turners, boilermakers and plumbers.
A plan to create more skills is needed and this approach must start at an overall education level and continue to the levels of further education and training, higher education and the workplace.
Some of the sector initiatives started to address the skills issue included the DWA learning academy, the FET Water programme, an agenda programme for research education and training in the water sector in the Southern African Development Community.
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