SA will take at least three years to recover from drought: Minister

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JOHANNESBURG, 05 October 2016 - Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane says users in Gauteng who ignore water restrictions face severe penalties or even time behind bars. PICTURED: Nomvula Mokonyane

JOHANNESBURG - Drought conditions continue to threaten South Africa's water security.

The Water and Sanitation Department is calling on all spheres of government to join forces in a bid to conserve this precious resource.

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says South Africans must accept they live in a dry country and adopt long-term strategies if they hope to be free of water restrictions.

She was speaking at a meeting with Members of the Executive Council (MECs) from all nine provinces who are responsible for cooperative governance, to update them on the water and sanitation delivery performance plans of the national department.

The minister said the rains have been good but she cautioned against getting too excited.

READ: Wet weather expected to bring some drought relief

She said that the country is still faced with a dire situationand, dam levels around the country is at 58 percent and there's only been a 2 percent increase in dam levels nationally.

"There needs to be synergy between the different spheres of government, it makes planning easy,"  said Nomusa Dube-Ncube Kwa-Zulu Natal's MEC for Corporate Governance.

Mokonyane said create more storage capacity needs to be created in South Africa. she said her department plans to spend 7 percent of the budget on infrastructure maintenance to ensure that they prevent water loss.

Government is also looking at introducing desalination plants in KwaZulu-Natal.  

In the meantime, Mokonyane urged municipalities to enforce water restrictions and by-laws

The minister said it will take at least three years for South Africa to recover from the drought, but even then, the country may not be out of the woods.