Jay o’keefe Rhodes University

Jay o’keefe Rhodes University

South Africa lacks skilled water experts

Date Released: Fri, 22 March 2013 08:58 +0200

Rhodes University Ecologist Professor Jay O’keefe says there are few skilled water scientists and water engineers in the country.

Professor O’keefe made his comments as the world celebrates World Water Day today,  the day was earmarked during the United Nations General Assembly in December 2010 which declared 2013 the International Year of Water Co-operation.

Professor O’keefe says urgent solutions should be found to deal with the scarcity of water in the world. He added that people should be made aware of the difficulties of water treatment.

“There are far too few skilled water scientists’ water engineers, water managers, water policy workers. So the people that are running the water services industry in the country are stretched very thin. In the long term what we need to do is a very focused capacity building programme to look at what are the skills we need and how can we best supply those for the country.”

Meanwhile, authorities say the country’s water resources are stretched, in provinces such as Mpumalanga mining activities have also seen water sources being contaminated.

“South Africa is a water scarce country we receive less than 400mm of rain per year compared to the global average of 800mm but with what we have if we sustain it, if we use water sustainable and carefully we can survive on what we have.

“But generally in a study of all the towns of South Africa, we have found that anything up to 40 to 60%  of the water that is provided is actually being lost so is quite a huge amount of water,” says Mpumalanga Water Affairs Regional Manager Fikile Guma.