Government says it will work closely with provinces and municipalities to manage the water crisis. The crippling drought across the country was on Monday declared a national disaster.

The Western Cape remains the worst affected province with water scarcity resource in South Africa.

The Inter-ministerial Task Team says the country is rated among the highest domestic consumers of the precious resource in the world.

The Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape are also severely affected.

The country’s cumulative dam levels stand on 63.4%.

Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize says: “The declaration of state of disaster is not primarily aimed at requesting funding; it is aimed at activating extra-ordinary measures, which might include funding, based on the need and other relevant conditions to address the impact of such disaster.”

The declaration was gazetted on Tuesday. Affected provinces will apply for funding from a R6 billion natural disaster management fund.

“Other conditional grants can also be prioritised in response to drought in line with applicable prescripts. I hereby wish to report that measures are being put in place to ensure that requests for funding are being considered.”

Job losses in the agricultural sector as a result of the drought are a major concern.

Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Zokwana says:”We know the Western Cape has been the hardest hit province hence we’ve allocated funding. So as to make sure that we can reduce the impact, but we know in the results that have been given now of our contribution to the GDP.”

The Western Cape government has welcomed the declaration. In Cape Town, harsh restrictions are in place and dam levels stand at an average 25.5%.

The province says it is in need of major water infrastructure projects.

Government says it’s working to develop an integrated water conservation model. It also wants to enhance weather forecasting capacity.

Meanwhile, a call has been made to South Africans to continuously save water.

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