OPINION: Stay safe at places of water during the summer season

Provincial FEATURED

September is now upon us, which means that summer is just around the corner.
Most people will experience scorching hot conditions in various parts of the country, and will go to water resources like rivers, lakes and dams to cool off.

The swimming pools and the country’s beaches will also be crowded as recreational enthusiasts will start enjoying the water during these hot weather conditions.
However, the Department of Water and Sanitation issues a warning to the public to be cautious during hot seasons when they visit water resources.


Many people have drowned during these recreational activities, be it at the swimming pools or in the rivers.
Beach rules and regulations should always be adhered to, whether on the sand or in the water. People are reminded to swim only in safe and supervised areas. Keeping an eye on children is very crucial, as their small minds cannot comprehend the force of water.

Always show them the boundaries of where they can go.
Summer is also associated with rainfalls. Religious or ritual activities at the rivers should be avoided during heavy rainfalls, which can result in flash floods. We have witnessed on numerous occasions how people have perished during river baptisms and cleansing rituals.

People should not underestimate the force of water. While they have the right to exercise rituals, high levels of responsibility are required from them.
Water has an extraordinary force and can cause havoc for many people. We have seen during the KwaZulu-Natal floods in April 2022 how houses were destroyed and infrastructures were damaged. More than 400 people perished during the ordeal.

There is also a high demand of water during hot weather conditions, but our efforts to save water need to double. This is mainly because temperatures will begin to rise, putting a strain on the already declining dam levels as experienced in most parts of the country. As the temperatures rise, water will evaporate from the country’s reservoirs. This is evident in the hydrological report released by the department to monitor the state of the country’s dam levels on a weekly basis.

Let us therefore use water sparingly during these hot weather conditions and be extra cautious as we socialise and cool off. Remember, water is life, but it can also end a life if a person is not taking necessary precautions when swimming or is socialising.

Nthabiseng Dhlamini Communicator at the National Dept. of Water & Sanitation.