The residents of Gauteng can breathe a sigh of relief as the National Treasury has recognised the important role that the Vaal River plays as a source of water and the huge potential it has to grow the Gauteng economy.
During our recent negotiations on the Division of Revenue Bill, the DA made a recommendation to mitigate the effect that future droughts or natural disasters may have on the province.
In Gauteng, climate change could also pose a threat and therefore we felt it was important to make recommendations that could mitigate the possible effects of climate change now.
In addition, we recommended the upgrading of the water infrastructure network in most Gauteng municipalities to be prioritized to ensure corrective action is taken before Gauteng faces its water disaster.
Where we govern in the Western Cape, we were proactive with our planning to mitigate water infrastructure losses.
This helped Cape Town avert a disastrous Day Zero due to the very low level of losses through their water infrastructure during the period of severe drought in the Western Cape four years ago.
Considering the massive water losses in Emfuleni and other municipalities close to the Vaal River, as well as raw sewerage running into the Vaal River, the DA requested that there is an acknowledgement of the critical role the Vaal River Water System plays in the Gauteng economy.
As the official opposition, it is crucial that we protect the people of Gauteng from the worst excesses of climate change by ensuring that money is properly spent on proactive projects to improve our water and sewerage infrastructure.
The DA will continue to monitor the progress in terms of the implementation of our recommendations as this will help improve the quality of life of our residents and ensure that they see the benefits of investment by the state rather than the money being lost to corruption and waste.