Western Cape Premier Helen Zille used her State of the Province Address (SOPA) to outline interventions government will be implementing to address the current water shortage.
The Premier mentioned, amongst others, plans to establish a digital means of optimising water usage in the agricultural sector and fast-tracking the development of the Table Mountain Group Aquifer. In addition, the premier promised that they would be working on saving water in government buildings as well.
She noted that the latest dam levels were down from last year at the same time – 34.8% to 44%, and even though Cape Town was at level 3B water restrictions, a study conducted showed that province’s water demands will outstrip supply by 2019.
The premier also tackled the issue of veldfires. She said that 10 years ago, firefighting services dealt with 12 000 fires in a year. The number has increased drastically, with 17 000 recorded this season alone. The cause of the fires all had an element of human agency to it, whether by accident or intent.
She promised to fully support authorities in exerting the full might of the law when dealing with arsonists. The premier condemned the throwing of cigarette stubs out of car windows, saying that it should be considered an act of attempted arson.
The premier reminded of the speed at which a fire could spread, saying that it a spark on a dry patch of land is all that is required to lead to an inferno.