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Danish govt to assist SA with water challenges

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The Danish will assist South Africa with its current and future water supply challenges.

Danish Minister of Environmental and Food Eva Kjer Hansen and Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Johannesburg on Monday, the Embassy of Denmark in South Africa said.

This comes as the country faces a burgeoning water crisis that has depleted many municipalities and the agriculture sector since last year.

Addressing the situation on Sunday, Mokonyane said an estimated 6 500 stand-alone rural communities were currently experiencing water shortages, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West provinces.

She said this number could increase to more than 11 000 rural communities as local water reserves depleted and the dry period continued.

So far, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State had been declared drought disaster areas.

Mokonyane added that in badly affected areas such as the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, southern parts of Mpumalanga, and parts of Limpopo, North West and the Northern Cape, about 50% of local water storage was problematic and could become critical if not managed carefully.

While signing the MoU on Monday, Mokonyane said the Danish support would be instrumental in finding sustainable solutions.

Her department said in a statement the country had the opportunity to “learn from the best”.

Hansen said the Danish would offer its technology, solutions and experience, which it had spent years developing through trial and error.

“Our hope is that the lessons we have learned can help smooth your [South Africa’s] journey,” she said.

“Just as we have partnered for democracy and renewable energy, we are starting to collaborate closely on water. I am certain this will be hugely beneficial to both our countries.”

The MoU between Denmark and South Africa included:

– Integrated water resources management;

– Water treatment technologies and management;

– Water and resource efficiency;

– Groundwater protection and management;

– Water governance and science;

– Capacity building and institutional strengthening.

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