The department of water and sanitation is calling on community members to work hard to protect groundwater in order to help minimise the effects of the ongoing drought, and climate change.
According to a statement released by the departmentDWS, groundwater can provide a practical solution for areas facing extreme water scarcity.
Groundwater is the water present beneath the earth’s surface in soil pore spaces and the fractures of rock formations. It is replenished from sources on the surface and eventually flows back to the surface in the form of springs, oases or wetlands.
The department’s scientific manager, Bhekokwakhe Kunene, said that proper utilisation of groundwater could can provide short-term relief to the water crises.
However, he also stressed that better planning, infrastructure investment and water exploration were are necessary for long-term sustainability.
South Africa SA continues to feel the effects of man-made climate change, which has led to a an overall drop in already scarce rainfall.
As a result, aquifer systems that which replenish groundwater are drying up.
In addition, higher temperatures lead to increased evaporation, which decreases the ability of the soil to hold groundwater.
The department has acknowledged some concerns raised by community members about the use of groundwater for domestic use, mostly because of its that there are high levels of fluoride levels.
“Fluoride occurs naturally in water and long-term exposure to high-fluoride drinking water may result in adverse health effects, but there are several water treatment techniques such as reverse osmosis, filtration and dilution through mixing high- fluoride water with water from different sources with low- fluoride sources,” said department production scientist Vhuthu Tshishonge said.
To help protect groundwater sources, people are requested he DWS encouraged communities to ensure all boreholes are are constructed properly and well-maintained in order to prevent water contamination through seepage.