“Apart from being essential to all life forms, water is one of several primary inputs in all sectors of an economy and is, therefore, a crucial resource with huge political significance and long political-economic history”. Willem de Lange (CSIR)
South Africa is a dry country by world standards. Its climate varies from desert and semi-desert in the west to sub-humid along the eastern coastal area. Its average rainfall of about 450 mm per year is well below the world average of about 860 mm. Evaporation is high, which places extra pressure on this resource.
No truly large perennial river – such as the Congo, Ganges, Mekong, Nile or Rhine which can serve as a reliable source of water – occurs in South Africa . The highly variable rainfall together with the general steep topography and shallow soils, contribute to the flashy character of our rivers. Groundwater is also limited due to the geology of the country, much of which is hard rock with little water bearing capacity. To further aggravate the situation, the spatial distribution of the water resources is highly skewed with 60% of the total annual runoff arising in only 20% of the surface area of the country (eastern parts). The western parts are much more arid than the eastern part of the country.
That South Africans consume more water per capita than the global norm (approximately 237 litres vs 173 litres per day) is hardly encouraging!
Sources: www.sancold.org.za/index.php/about/about-dams/dams-in-south-africa and www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/spotlight-water.
Find updates on the country’s dams at www.dwa.gov.za/Hydrology/Weekly/Province.aspx
Agriculture is an important sector contributing to the country’s food security, rural welfare and contributing to job creation. Its irrigation component consumes over 60% of the country’s water resources to do this, placing a considerable responsibility on the shoulders of all in the sector. Agriculture faces increased competition for water resources from domestic and industrial users. The following table presents the water resource allocations per water user group:
|Water user/sector||Proportion of allocation|
|Agriculture and nature conservation||2.5%|
Source: "The State of SA’s water resources" presentation by Trevor Balzer (Department Water & Sanitation 2014)
|Upstream and downstream: Green Trust/WWF SA media field trip surveying the work done in removing invasive alien plants. .|
In global terms, South Africa is classified as water scarce country. It is the 30th driest country in the world. Possible interventions include:
- Better use of irrigation technology
- Recycling water to a potable standard.
- Desalination of seawater or brackish water.
- Alien vegetation control: a significant volume of water is used by alien vegetation and control measures aimed at reclaiming the water is an option.
- Inter-basin and trans-country transfers: The importation of water from central Africa remains an option.
- Minimise leakages. Leakages is not only wasted water, it is foregone income as well.
- Virtual water (see next heading)
Source: Dr Willem de Lange, CSIR
Water is a national issue for several reasons:
- The necessity for water makes it a human security issue. Water is a key to stability in the lives of communities and to the growth of nations.
- Because South Africa is a water-scarce country, the water we have should be used wisely.
- Water is closely related to food security and nutrition.
- Water use behaviours can have a detrimental effect on the quality of our water. Poor maintenance of waste water treatment works, and industrial, mining and agricultural pollutants degrade our water and aquatic life.
- The costs to the economy of making increasingly toxic water fit for human consumption is an unnecessary, avoidable expense.
- The trading status of South African agricultural products, both for export and local, is threatened by the quality of water in some areas. The shadow goes further than the safety of the food to the very profitability of various businesses (read “jobs”).
African business environment
Under most scenarios, water is set to become an increasingly scarce resource in Africa. This is particularly true for southern Africa. The continent loses more water to evaporation than any other continent. Droughts and floods from erratic rainfall patterns, population growth, pollution and urbanisation will all translate to water demand outstripping supply by an estimated 40% by 2030.
Which countries have water in southern Africa?
|Country||Cubic metres per person|
|South Africa||1 110|
Source: Mike Muller
Virtual water trade
The water issue for producing food will be resolved through trade and not water management. Food will be produced were it can be produced with the most effective use of water and then traded with less water rich countries… Countries will therefore import products that they cannot produce water-efficiently and vice versa. Mike Muller.
A solution for the southern tip of the continent would be to grow the agricultural sectors of countries such as Zambia, where there is more than enough rainfall.
Doing so would lessen the strain on South Africa where 60% of the water is used for irrigation, and would also stimulate neighbouring countries. South Africa would be able to import the food Zambia grows and also get growing markets for its own goods.
As climate change progresses, along with the expected drop in rainfall, this would help mitigate many of the problems that the country faces with ensuring food security.
Source: adapted from the article “Farming out South Africa’s water worries” on www.mg.co.za.
Water for Africa
In Africa, groundwater is the major source of drinking water and its use for irrigation is forecast to increase substantially to combat growing food insecurity. The first quantitative continent-wide maps of aquifer storage and potential borehole yields in Africa based on an extensive review of available maps, publications and data were done in 2012.
Find quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024009
- African Rivers Network (ARN) – https://sites.google.com/site/africanriversnetwork/
- African Water Association – www.afwa-hq.org
- Eastern Africa Water Association (EAWA) – www.eawaonline.org/
- IFAT Africa trade fair www.ifat-africa.com
- Lesotho Highlands Water Project helps to ensure an adequate supply of water to Gauteng in South Africa while also generating hydropower for Lesotho. Visit www.lhda.org.ls.
- The Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), launched in 2014, enables four Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to manage their water resources. See http://internationalwatercooperation.org/tbwaters/?actor=38. On this website, read about other rivers on the continent (and in the world) which are shared by countries.
- www.africanwater.org – an independent initiative dedicated to the promotion of sustainable water resources management and use
- SADC Groundwater Management Institute http://sadc-gmi.org
- The Water Project (“When water comes … everything changes”) – http://thewaterproject.org
- Water for Africa Institute, www.water-for-africa.org/en/home.html
- South Africa and Zimbabwe entered into an agreement of Co-operation on Water Resources Management in December 2014 and established the Joint Water Commission (JWC), which is referred to as the Zimbabwe – South Africa JWC (ZRSA JWC). In terms of the agreement, water will be supplied to South Africa from her neighbour.
International business environment
Two-thirds of the world’s population will be affected by water shortages by 2030 (Reinders, 2016).
The 6th of the global goals agreed to by governments in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is “Clean water & sanitation” and the 14th is “Life below water”. See www.globalgoals.org.
- Regional Water Centre for Arid and Semi-arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC) – www.cazalac.org
- Find “Land and water” under the themes option at www.fao.org, website of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). On the website, find Publications like Towards a water and food secure future: Critical perspectives for policy-makers and The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW): Managing systems at risk. World Livestock: Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals includes a study of livestock and sustainable management of water.
- FutureEarth runs the Global Water System Project. See www.futureearth.org.
- Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) – www.globalwaterresearchcoalition.net
- University of Dundee’s IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science – www.dundee.ac.uk/water
- International Centre for Water Co-operation (ICWC), http://internationalwatercooperation.org (“transboundary water: a catalyst for co-operation”)
- UNESCO’s International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change – www.waterandchange.org/en/
- International Commission on Large Dams – www.icold-cigb.org
- International Network of Basin Organisations, www.inbo-news.org/
- International Rivers (protecting rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them) – www.internationalrivers.org
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI) produces public goods – tools and knowledge – to help developing countries gain ‘more crop per drop’ from water used to grow food. Visit www.iwmi.org.
- International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) is an international water security programme which combines global best practices in water stewardship with local know-how. The programme runs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa on the African continent, and Grenada and Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. See www.iwasp.org.
- International WaterCentre (education and training, applied research and consulting) – www.watercentre.org
- Iran’s Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) – www.rcuwm.ir
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), www.oecd.org/environment/resources/water.htm
- Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) www.siwi.org
- Read about water security and the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website, https://en.unesco.org/.
- UN Water (co-ordinating the United Nation’s work with water, www.unwater.org
- Find the Daily Show interview with Matt Damon and Gary White “Transforming Lives with Water.org and WaterEquity” on Youtube.
- WaterAid – www.wateraid.org
- Read about the Waterkeeper Alliance at https://waterkeeper.org, the “largest and fastest growing nonprofit [organisation] solely focused on clean water”.
- Wishing Well International Foundation works for clean, safe drinking water in developing areas – http://wishingwellintl.org and www.wishingwellintl.co.za.
- World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), soil and water conservation specialists – www.wocat.net
- World Water Council: an “international multistakeholder platform organization” – www.worldwatercouncil.org
- www.internationalrivers.org – “at the heart of the global struggle to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them”
Local business environment
Municipalities and the delivery of water services
Local government is constitutionally mandated to provide basic services including the delivery of water and sanitation services. These municipalities, however, are experiencing systemic issues that negatively affect this delivery.
Municpal consumer debt and poor financial management
While more households have access to piped water than in 2002, there has been a steady decline in the number of households that pay for this piped water. Midway through 2018, non-payment amounted to R143.2 billion. This significantly influences the ability of local government to do its job. This is exacerbated by irregular municipal expenditure. In turn, municipalities owe R13.1 billion to water boards and the Department of Water & Sanitation.
Poor financial audits against municipalities highlight serious governance and accountability issues in local government. Little meaningful action is taken against officials for non-compliance with supply chain management procedures.
Municipalities generally lack the technical knowledge, skill and expertise to perform core operational functions.
Lack of planning
Each municipality is meant to have a water services developmental plan (WSDP) along with its integrated developmental plan (IDP). Mostly, these plans are outdated or not implemented. Maintenance, for example, is in most cases no longer performed as a preventative measure but on a reactive basis.
As a result of financial and capacity restraints, municipalities are facing a serious backlog in infrastructure maintenance. They lose almost a third of their water supply.
Non-revenue water use accounts to some 37% of water used. This is water lost through faulty infrastructure, commercial losses (billing errors or theft), and unbilled authorised consumption like fire fighting.
Of enormous concern is the proper functioning of wastewater treatment works. Almost half of the country’s 824 wastewater treatment facilities is in a poor or critical condition. This translates into raw sewage flowing into primary water resources like the Vaal River, severly compromising the quality of water.
Source: Michelle Toxopeus, Legal Researcher, Helen Suzman Foundation
South Africa’s rivers
The country’s rivers tend to be in a weakened condition with over 80% of them under threat (Day, 2017). The main problems affecting the quality of the country’s river water include faecal pollution, eutrophication (the inflow of nitrates and phosphates), high salinity, high toxicity (from, among other sources, agricultural pesticides) and acid mine drainage. Faecal pollution (which leads to diseases like cholera and typhoid) and pesticides need to be monitored widely, as they pose health risks to human and agricultural activities.
“If there are 100 units of rainwater, only eight units end up in a river. We lose more water to evaporation than what ends up in a river. The era of dam building is over, and the future of water storage lies in managed underground storage aquifers”, Prof Anthony Turton, water resource management specialist.
The South African agricultural sector will have to plan for the uncertainty introduced by climate change, which is already playing havoc with the country’s water security.
- Predictions for low rainfall and higher temperatures will result in more evaporation and reduced infiltration.
- Floods and droughts will be more frequent or more intense.
- More forceful storms may increase river and groundwater flow, and water storage will become more important.
- It is also fairly sure that the western side of South Africa will become hotter and drier.
Source: Mike Muller
- Read “Government or God: South Africa’s water crisis” (2019, August 30), an Eye Witness News feature at https://ewn.co.za/features/land-of-thirst.
- The web pages of the Resource Quality Services Directorate of the Department of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation (DHSWS) are at www.dwa.gov.za/iwqs.
- Read about miniSASS, a tool which can be used by anybody to monitor the health of a river, at www.minisass.org.
- The reader is referred to other documents listed under the “Websites & publications” heading towards the end of this page.
National strategy and government contacts
South Africa’s Constitution and the Bill of Rights enshrine the basic human right to have access to sufficient water and a safe and healthy environment.
- The two Acts that enable government to fulfil these rights through the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS) are: (i) The National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998), which aims to ensure that water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner, for the benefit of everyone in South Africa; (ii) The Water Services Act, 1997 (Act 108 of 1997), which created a regulatory framework within which water services could be provided. The different acts regarding water are available under the “documents” menu option on www.dwa.gov.za.
- Go to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website – www.pmg.org.za – for Annual Reports and briefings of the Department and Water Boards.
- The National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS), an assessment of the supply-demand ratio in relation to water resources, was initiated in 2004. It has been reviewed and NWRS2 was finalised by parliament in 2013. The strategic objectives are aligned to the National Water Act and the National Development Plan (NDP).
- The National Water and Sanitation Master Plan is seen as a consolidation of various policies/strategies/legislation (including the National Water Act and National Water Resource Strategy 2) into one plan. Unveiled in November 2019, it spells out government’s short, medium, and long-term strategy to secure water security in the country. The Master Plan seeks to realize the goals enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa, National Development Plan, as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- Read about other DHSWS programmes, plans and strategies in the yearbook at www.gcis.gov.za or at www.dwa.gov.za.
- Water resources and services are dealt with in chapter 4 of the National Development Plan (NDP). The 2030 NDP goals seek to provide affordable and reliable to sufficient and safe water and hygienic sanitation. The NDP recognises deteriorating water quality as “a particular problem”. It comments on the importance of “routine and preventative maintenance at municipal treatment plants to keep our water clean. Another cause is the expansion of mining in areas like the Mpumalanga Highveld. It lauds the progress in ensuring greater access to water. While noting the improvement in the Eastern Cape, it makes the point that 75% access is still below the national average. The NDP calls on the country to assure water supplies by investment and reuse. To reduce demand, rather than simply increasing supply is seen as important. Desalinisaion is looked at as a strategy. It lists policy issues and the actions required to meet the 2030 goals. Find the document at www.gov.za/issues/national-development-plan-2030.
- The Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2017/18 – 2019/20 contained a water and sanitation outlook (pages 166-172). It mentioned that opportunities existed in “both the water sector and sectors of co-dependence for advancing technologies that enhance water security through recycling, reuse and reclamation, and new reliable off-grid technology options for sanitation, water purification and energy”. Find the document at www.thedti.gov.za.
- Find other legislation which has an impact on the water sector at www.waternet.co.za. This includes the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act 107 of 1998), Lake Areas Development Act, 1975 (Act 39 of 1975) and the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act 43 of 1983).
GOVERNMENT ROLE PLAYERS
- Department of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation (DHSWS) Tel: 012 336 7500 www.dhs.gov.za and www.dwa.gov.za Details of provincial customer care walk in help centres can be found on the website at www.dwa.gov.za/CustomerCare/ProvincialCustomerCare.aspx
- A National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency is planned to oversee the supply of water across the country (Mkhwanazi 2021).
- Available from the Government Information & Communication Systems (GCIS) is a new annual, Official Guide to South Africa, the ninth chapter of which is Energy & Water. The notes are shorter than the GCIS yearbook. The Water and Sanitation half includes overviews of the following role players: Water boards, Catchment management agencies (CMAs), Water-user associations (WUAs), Water Research Commission (WRC), Water Trading Entity (WTE), Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), Komati River Basin Water Authority and the Water Tribunal. It ends with three paragraphs on the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN).
- Water boards are the affiliates of the South African Association of Water Utilities (SAAWU), see www.saawu.org.za.
- Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) www.environment.gov.za
- Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Water Use and Irrigation Development Tel: 012 846 8569 www.dalrrd.gov.za and www.ruraldevelopment.gov.za Water is required for socio-economic development and growth. Access to clean and piped water is one of the biggest challenges undermining the progress of the rural development.
- National Treasury www.treasury.gov.za
- South African Weather Service www.weathersa.co.za
- South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Tel: 012 369 8000 www.salga.org.za Find the “Municipalities” option on the website.
- South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Tel: 012 428 7911 www.sabs.co.za
- Odendaal N. 2021, February 19. “NPC outlines the National Water Security Framework”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/npc-outlines-the-national-water-security-framework-2021-02-19-1/rep_id:4136
- Refer to www.waternet.co.za for notes on applications, legislation and planning to do with government’s water and sanitation policies.
- Refer to the latest GCIS yearbook on www.gcis.gov.za for a comprehensive overview of National Strategy. Water & sanitation is one of the chapters. The 2019/20 one approaches this sector under the following headings:
|Water resources management, infrastructure planning and development |
Regulating water services
– Consolidated water boards
– Rand Water
– Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA)
– Umgeni Water
– The Water Trading Entity
– Breede‐Gouritz Catchment Management Agency
– Inkomati‐Usuthu Catchment Management Agency
– Water Research Commission
National Water Policy
– National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS2)
– Raw Water Pricing Strategy
– National Groundwater Strategy
– Reuse Strategy
– Infrastructure upgrades and bilateral agreements
– Rainwater harvesting (RWH)
– Desalination Strategy
– Dams and water schemes
– Groundwater resources
– Managing and developing water resources
|– Managing water quality and wastewater |
Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs)
Dam Safety Rehabilitation Programme
Water Allocation Reform Programme
Women in Water
Management of water conservation and demand
Enhanced local government support approach
National Chemical Monitoring Programme (NCMP)
Integrated Water Quality Management Strategy
Managing water resources under a changing climate
National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP)
National Aquatic Ecosystem Health Monitoring Programme (NAEHMP)
National Toxicity Monitoring Programme
Education and awareness
– Youth development and National Water Week
Regional and international cooperation and initiatives
Acid Mine Drainage
Associations, industry bodies and NGOs
Find farmer unions on the “Organised agriculture” page.
- Agri SA Water Desk Janse Rabie 076 451 9601 www.agrisa.co.za
- Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) Tel: 012 807 6686 www.agbiz.co.za
- Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) Tel: 015 793 0145 www.award.org.za
- Centre for Environmental Rights Tel: 021 447 1647 www.cer.org.za
- Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Tel: 011 372 3600 www.ewt.org.za The Source to Sea Programme addresses the need for the conservation of freshwater ecosystems and species in southern Africa.
- Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) Tel: 021 448 2881 www.emg.org.za Contact the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) for documents and DVDs like “Leaks, debt and devices: a community seeks alternatives (2013, 6 min) “, “Water is Life (2008) – A look at some of the issues facing water-stressed communities” and “Water and climate change “.
- Federation for a Sustainable Environment www.fse.org.za Find articles like “Agencies set up to manage water use flounder (NEARLY 20 years after they were written into South Africa’s National Water Act, most of the crucial agencies that have the power to authorise water use are still not functional)”, written in June 2017, at www.fse.org.za.
- Hippo Water Roller Project www.hipporoller.org People are able to transport almost five times the amount of water in one trip, without having to carry 20 kilograms on their heads.
- Mvula Trust Tel: 011 403 3425 www.mvula.co.za The largest NGO supporting water and sanitation development in South Africa, it has offices across the country.
- National Business Initiative (NBI) – water efficiency one of their foci. See www.yametsi.co.za (the Kopano ya Metsi programme) and www.nbi.org.za.
- Save the Vaal Environment (SAVE) Tel: 083 286 3500 www.save.org.za The Vaal River system supplies water to 60% of the economy, 45% of the country’s population (Balzer, 2014).
- Social Justice Coalition (SJC) Tel: 021 361 0298 www.sjc.org.za
- South African Association of Water Utilities (SAAWU) Tel: 011 455 0591/0176 www.saawu.org.za Represents Amatola Water, Bloem Water, Magalies Water, Mhlathuze Water, Midvaal Water, Lepelle Water, Rand Water, Sedibeng Water, Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and Umgeni Water (find links on the website).
- South African National Committee on Large Dams www.sancold.org.za
- South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers (SAIAE) http://saiae.co.za Find “Water Utilisation” on the website.
- South African Irrigation Institute www.sabi.co.za
- South African Water Caucus (SAWC) is a network of more than 20 community-based organisations, non-government organisations and trade unions. Contact them through the Environmental Monitoring Group.
- Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists www.riv.co.za/sasaqs
- Strategic Water Partners Network South Africa (SWPN) c/o Prof Barend Erasmus Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability Research and Director: Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute (GCSRI) Tel: 011 717 6602 www.swpn.org.za
- Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) Tel: 086 111 WISA(9472) www.wisa.org.za The Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) is a voluntary non-profit association comprising water sector professionals, interested parties, companies, government departments, educational and research institutions, local authorities and associated organisations.
- Water Users Associations (WUAs) include all sectors dependent on a specific water resource which they utilise. Find the document dealing with the establishment, powers and disestablishment of water user associations at www.dwa.gov.za/iwqs/nwa/tmp_Chapter_8.html.
- Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) www.wessa.org.za
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) SA runs the Sustainable Agriculture and Water Balance programmes with support from Nedbank “to help ensure that healthy, well-functioning natural systems support social and economic upliftment for communities and sectors dependent on the Umgeni Catchment”. Visit www.wwf.org.za.
Training and research
- ARC-Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-SCW) Tel: 012 310 2500 www.arc.agric.za A wide field of water management aspects are addressed by ARC-SCW. Areas of water management such as improving dryland water use efficiency through water harvesting and conservation agriculture; managing water quality in the environment and for agricultural use; drought and flood monitoring and response farming to climatic conditions are but a few water issues addressed. ARC-SCW is committed to improving water management in South Africa with its ever-increasing water shortages.
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Natural Resources and Environment Unit (NRE) Tel: 012 841 2911 www.csir.co.za
- DWS Learning Academy www.dwa.gov.za/LearningA/
- Energy and Water SETA (EWSETA) Tel: 011 274 4700 www.ewseta.org.za The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) related to water.
- Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) Tel: 011 607 9500 www.ecsa.co.za
- Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) Tel: 021 448 2881 www.emg.org.za
- Freshwater Research Centre Tel: 021 783 0155 http://frcsa.org.za
- North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) (i) Centre for Water Sciences and Management Tel: 018 299 2063 www.waterscience.co.za (ii) Research Unit: Environmental Science and Management Tel: 018 299 2493/2128 Nico.Smit [at] nwu.ac.za http://natural-sciences.nwu.ac.za/WRG The mission of the Water Research Group is to develop a research profile in the following identified focus areas: 1. Use of risk to contribute towards the management and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. 2. Effects of pollution to surface freshwater aquatic ecosystems, emphasising on the responses of organisms, populations and communities. 3. Contribution to the local, national and regional science of aquatic ecosystem health.
- North-West University The South African Water History Archival Repository (SAWHAR) is permanently based in the new library at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University. Contact the campus at 016 910 3111.
- Rhodes University Institute for Water Research Tel: 046 622 4014 www.ru.ac.za/iwr/
- Included in the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)-accredited qualifications are ones like “Maintain basic water quality”, “Monitor water quality”, “Maintain water quality parameters” and “Explain the prevention and treatment of animal diseases”. Find the Qualifications and Learning Material option at www.agriseta.co.za.
- Stellenbosch University Water Institute Tel: 021 808 9514 www.sun.ac.za/water
- Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Department of Environmental, Water & Earth Sciences Tel: 012 382 6232 www.tut.ac.za
- University of Cape Town Future Water research Institute Tel: 021 650 5317 www.futurewater.uct.ac.za
- University of the Free State (i) Institute for Groundwater Studies Tel: 051 401 2793 www.ufs.ac.za/igs (ii) Centre for Environmental Management Tel: 051 401 3939 www.ufs.ac.za/cem
- University of KwaZulu-Natal (i) Bioresources Engineering Tel: 033 260 5490 http://bioeng.ukzn.ac.za (ii) Centre of Water Resources Research Tel: 033 260 5678 http://cwrr.ukzn.ac.za
- University of Pretoria Water Institute www.up.ac.za/waterup
- University of Venda Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Tel: 015 962 8000 www.univen.ac.za
- University of the Western Cape Institute for Water Studies (IWS) Tel: 021 959 9728 www.uwc.ac.za
- University of the Witwatersrand Centre in Water Research and Development (CIWaRD) Tel: 011 717 7592 www.wits.ac.za/ciward
- Water Research Commission (WRC) Water Utilisation in Agriculture: Dr Gerhard Backeberg Tel: 012 761 9300 www.wrc.org.za Find the hundreds of documents and the “Research” option on the website.
- Water Resources Group www.2030wrg.org
Water purification and recycling solutions
- Absolutely Water Tel: 011 907 8377 www.absolutelywater.co.za
- African Water Solutions Tel: 011 609 0314 www.africanwatersolutions.co.za
- Aqua Resources SA Tel: 011 100 4822 www.aqua-resources.co.za
- Aqualibrium https://aqualibrium.co.za and www.kinetico.com
- Aquamat Tel: 011 472 1311 www.aquamat.co.za
- Aqua4Life Tel: 074 383 0001 http://aqua4life.net
- Applied UV Tel: 021 448 6721 www.applieduv.co.za
- Biobox Systems Tel: 0861 246 269 www.biobox.co.za
- Biodyne South Africa Tel: 060 526 0434 www.biodyne.co.za Biological treatments
- Biozone Tel: 011 791 4403 https://biozone.co.z
- Blue Spot Water Tel: 072 758 0316 www.bluespotwater.co.za
- BlueGreen Water Technologies https://bgtechs.com
- Blutech Group http://blutech.co.za
- Circuit Water Engineering Equipment Tel: 011 813 1083 www.circuit.co.za
- ClearWater SA www.clearwatersa.co.za
- Conns Manufacturing www.connsfilters.com
- Crystal Clear Tel: 011 640 6445 www.crystalclear.co.za
- East Midlands Water South Africa Tel: 021 883 8093 http://emwc.co.za
- East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT) Tel: 011 929 7000 www.erwat.co.za
- Eco Aqua Technology Tel: 021 854 6400 www.ecoaquatech.co.za
- FBF Organics Tel: 033 346 1444 www.fbforganics.com
- Fine Bubble Technologies Tel: 022 931 2240 https://finebubbletechnologies.com
- Glacier Tel: 011 614 9840 www.purifiers.co.za
- Grundfos Tel: 010 248 6000 http://za.grundfos.com
- Gruntech Tel: 082 735 9280 http://gruntech.co.za
- H2O International Tel: 0800 492 836 http://h2o.co.za
- Klomac Tel: 012 541 7808 www.klomac.co.za
- LifeStraw www.lifestraw.com
- Liquid Tech Tel: 051 401 7464 www.liquidtech.co.za
- Microsep Tel: 011 553 2300 www.microsep.co.za
- Ozonetek Tel: 021 593 0486 www.ozonetek.co.za “sterilisation the chemical-free way”
- P & B Lime Works Tel: 028 424 1157 www.pandblime.co.za
- PURE Tel: 086 11 16 042 www.puresa.co.za
- Puritech Tel: 012 657 1010 www.puritech.co.za
- Quality Filtration Systems Tel: 021 853 5248 www.qualityfilters.co.za
- Saltcor Tel: 021 951 6501 www.donaldbrowngroup.co.za
- Sustainable.co.za Tel: 0861 661 326 www.sustainable.co.za
- Talbot & Talbot Tel: 033 346 1444 www.talbot.co.za
- Ultimate Water Tel: 021 556 7418 www.ultimatewater.co.za
- Valve & Allied Tel: 011 789 4110 www.vacc.co.za
- Vovani Water Products Tel: 010 140 3773 www.vovani.co.za
- Water Purification Equipment Tel: 0861-973-973 www.waterpure.co.za
- Water Purification Solutions Tel: 021 851 2451 www.wps.co.za
- Water Rhapsody Tel: 021 531 9864 www.waterrhapsody.co.za
- Waterboys Tel: 011 021 6145 www.waterboys.biz
- WET Solutions Tel: 076 678 6006 www.wetsolutions.co.za Solar water disinfecting technology
- Zetachem Tel: 031 469 0165 www.zetachem.co.za
- Aquaplan Watertreatment Engineering www.aquaplansa.co.za
- Aurecon Group www.aurecongroup.com
- Delta West Engineering www.deltawesteng.com
- Gibb Engineering and Science www.gibb.co.za
- MBB Services International www.mbb.co.za
- Murray & Roberts (M&R) www.murrob.com
- Royal Haskoning DHV www.rhdhv.co.za
- SMEC South Africa www.smec.com
- Uyapo Engineering Projects http://uyapo.com
- WorleyParsons RSA www.worleyparsons.com
Find a complete list on the “Irrigation” page.
Consultants and services
- Agrifusion helps farmers get water rights. Visit www.agrifusion.co.za.
- Anthony Turton www.anthonyturton.com
- Carin Bosman Sustainable Solutions Tel: 012 940 2071 www.cbosss.com
- Centre for Environmental Rights Tel: 021 447 1647 https://water.cer.org.za Find the interactive may, legal toolbox and other information on the website
- East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT) Tel: 011 929 7000 www.erwat.co.za
- Environmental & Rural Solutions Tel: 039 737 4849 www.enviros.co.za
- Freshwater Consulting Group http://freshwaterconsulting.co.za
- The satellite-driven Fruitlook enables farmers to cut water use by up to 30%. See www.fruitlook.co.za/
- GreenCape Tel: 021 811 0250 http://greencape.co.za
- Services offered by Janet Edmonds Consulting include Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Applications and Permit applications: Water Use Licenses. Call 033 940 0450 or write to www.jecenviro.co.za.
- JMA Consulting Tel: 013 665 1788 www.jmaconsult.co.za
- NRM Consulting Tel: 011 318 0895 www.nrmconsulting.co.za
- NviroTek Labs Tel: 012 252 7588 www.nviroteklabs.co.za
- Pula Strategic Resource Management www.pula.co.za
- PROMEET offers technology for retaining moisture on your lands. Call Michiel Theron at 082 802 2442 or email him at promeet [at] lantic.net.
- SRK Consulting www.srk.co.za
- Urban-Econ http://urban-econ.com
- Water Footprint Certification (WFC) Consultancy www.waterfootprint.co.za
- WESST Consulting Services www.wesst.co.za
Tanks, instrumentation, pumps and other equipment
- Air Water Tel: 082 884 4881 http://airwater.co.za Humidity harvesting
- AquaSky Tel: 021 224 0966 https://aquasky.co.za
- Endress+Hauser Tel: 011 262 8000 www.za.endress.com/en
- Hippo Roller Tel: 082 447 1848 www.hipporoller.com
- Roundabout Water Solutions is a part of PlayPumps International which provides clean drinking water. Phone 011 543 7928 or visit www.playpumps.co.za for more information.
- Water Powered Technologies www.waterpoweredtechnologies.com Self-powered water pump
- WaterMiser Tel: 066 076 0568 www.watermiser.co.za WaterMiser continuously circulates the water in the pipe ensuring that the water that comes out the hot tap instantly. No water wasted.
Websites and publications
Visit the websites of the various role players, mentioned earlier on this page.
- Find out where your water comes from. Visit www.journeyofwater.co.za.
- What is YOUR water footprint? Visit www.waterfootprint.org, home of the Water Footprint Network.
- Visit the Water Wise website (see www.waterwise.co.za/site/home.html), Rand Water’s environmental brand.
- The Reservoir (Water resource information Centre for the Vaal Barrage & Vaal Dam catchment forums), www.reservoir.co.za
- Find the Infographic: The secret life of drinking water on www.cnn.com.
Magazines and journals
- The Water Wheel is a two-monthly magazine on water and water research. Download copies at www.wrc.org.za.
- WATER Sewage & Effluent is a monthly magazine published by Interact Media Defined. Visit www.imdonline.co.za/products/water-sewage-and-effluent
- Water & Sanitation Africa (an alternate monthly publication) is published by 3S Media. Read more at www.3smedia.co.za.
Handbooks, reports, guides
- Find presentations given at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)/Agbiz Water Efficiency in Agri-processing Workshop (2019, March 25) at https://agbiz.co.za/news/water-efficiency-workshop
- “At the current rate of utilisation, South Africa will suffer a 17% water deficit by 2030”. Find the section on water (pages 12-14) in the ABSA Spring 2018 Agricultural Outlook.
- The “Water 2018 – Market Intelligence Report” from Green Cape. Read it at www.greencape.co.za/assets/Uploads/GreenCape-Water-MIR-FINAL-20180405.pdf.
- Department of Water & Sanitation. 2018, October 11. “Strategies to mitigate climate change and drought in respect of water and sanitation”. Presentation to Portfolio Committee on Water & Sanitation. Parliamentary Monitoring Group. Available at http://pmg-assets.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/181011strategies.pdf
- SUSFARMS, the Sustainable Sugarcane Farm Management System, includes notes on water, irrigation and drainage, wetlands and watercourses in its guidelines. Contact the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) for more information. Find its web pages at www.sasa.org.za.
- Publications available from the CSIR include Climate Risk and Vulnerability: a handbook for Southern Africa (2nd edition printed in 2017) and The National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas Atlas. The latter is a HUGE document with lots of maps of freshwater rivers and wetlands that need to be protected. It is available online on the CSIR website.
- The following DALRRD Info Paks (booklets) can be accessed at www.dalrrd.gov.za: “Collecting rainwater from your roof” and “Wetland Values and Functions”.
- The City of Cape Town’s water map provides information on household water use, treated effluent collection points and water pressure management zones. See www.capetown.gov.za/watermap. See also its THINK WATER portal, www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater, its notes on water management devices, http://cct.gov.za/mXos4, and its water calculator, http://bit.ly/ThinkWaterCalculatorCT.
- Armitage, N, Vic M., Fisher-Jeffes et al. 2013. Alternative Technology for Stormwater Management: The South African Guidelines for Sustainable Drainage Systems. Pretoria: Water Research Commission. Available at http://www.wrc.org.za/Knowledge%20Hub%20Documents/Research%20Reports/TT%20558-13.pdf
- Download the Green Infrastructure Guide For Water Management at http://web.unep.org/ecosystems/resources/publications/green-infrastructure-guide-water-management. It offers cost-effective alternatives to existing options, especially when it comes to greywater.
- Hundreds and hundreds of publications are available from the Water Research Commission. Visit www.wrc.org.za to see what is available.
- Find WWF SA reports like Scenarios for the Future of Water in South Africa and Water: Facts and Futures on www.wwf.org.za.
- Years ago the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) did the Water: a looming crisis while PwC did Water: challenges, drivers and solutions.
- Read Agribook blogs like “Sustainable water and sanitation solutions for South Africa”, “Out in the streets” and “(Water again) The thing is …”.
- Nel G. 2021, March 22. “World Water Day: Water stress can put business models in jeopardy”. Business Report. Available at www.iol.co.za/business-report/opinion/world-water-day-water-stress-can-put-business-models-in-jeopardy-0c940711-b588-45df-b1b2-ebcdae4ff74e
- Odendaal N. 2021, March 12. “Four strategic water projects ‘ready for investment’”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/four-strategic-water-projects-ready-for-investment-2021-03-12
- Mkhwanazi S. 2021, February 17. “New agency set up to oversee water supply countrywide”. Available at www.iol.co.za/news/politics/new-agency-set-up-to-oversee-water-supply-countrywide-d669cfd5-6bb1-4aef-9b36-9be233ee68b0
- Afriforum. 2020, November 30. “AfriForum announces its blue and green drop report”. Polity. Available at www.polity.org.za/article/afriforum-announces-its-blue-and-green-drop-report-2020-11-30
- Abia A.L.K. 2020, November 24. “River of bacteria: a South African study pinpoints what’s polluting the water”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/river-of-bacteria-a-south-african-study-pinpoints-whats-polluting-the-water-150551
- Phillips L. 2020, September 15. “Over half of SA’s wastewater treatment works are failing”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/over-half-of-sas-wastewater-treatment-works-are-failing
- Odendaal N. 2020, July 21. “Covid-19 infrastructure response should focus on water and sanitation”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/covid-19-infrastructure-response-should-focus-on-water-and-sanitation-2020-07-21
- Odendaal N. 2020, March 27. “Covid-19 reveals the dangers of South Africa’s lacking water infrastructure”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/covid-19-reveals-the-dangers-of-south-africas-lacking-water-infrastructure-2020-03-27
- Corruption Watch releases report on corruption in the water sector (2020, March 12). See www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzHlPNqqvQU
- Odendaal N. 2020, February 7. “Growing concern over impact climate change may have on water security”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/growing-concern-over-impact-climate-change-may-have-on-water-security-2020-02-07
- Simkins C. 2020, February 6. “Water Quality in SA”. Politicsweb. Available at www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/water-quality
- Harrisberg K. 2019, December 24. “‘National crisis’: Sewage system collapse a ticking time bomb”. IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/national-crisis-sewage-system-collapse-a-ticking-time-bomb-39692623
- Feketha S. 2019, December 2. “Ramaphosa says SA will need around R126bn to ensure water security”. IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/news/politics/ramaphosa-says-sa-will-need-around-r126bn-to-ensure-water-security-38484107
- Watch eNCA’s ‘The Uncomfortable Truth’: SA’s water crisis (1 December 2019) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0SEk4YCm6I&t=523s
- Bega S. 2019, November 30. “New scary reality looms for SA: Water will become expensive”. Saturday Star. Available at www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/new-scary-reality-looms-for-sa-water-will-become-expensive-38238430
- Reporter. 2019, November 29. “Water Use License process reduced to 49 days”. SA News. Available at www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/water-use-license-process-reduced-49-days
- Kubheka T. 2019, November 28. “Water master plan includes dept restructuring, tackling financial woes – Sisulu”. Eye Witness News. Available at https://ewn.co.za/2019/11/28/water-master-plan-includes-dept-restructuring-tackling-financial-woes-sisulu
- Muller M. 2019, November 6. “South Africa’s real water crisis: not understanding what’s needed”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/south-africas-real-water-crisis-not-understanding-whats-needed-126361
- How to get “quality water” and deal with pollution at the same time: “SA must invest in wastewater technology to curb water crisis, says analyst” (2019, October 29), available at www.702.co.za/articles/365281/sa-must-invest-in-wastewater-technology-to-curb-water-crisis-says-analyst
- Bega S. 2019, October 5. “Govt report paints a bleak picture of South Africa’s rivers”. IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/govt-report-paints-a-bleak-picture-of-south-africas-rivers-34111285
- Smith C. 2019, August 27. “Gauteng could be SA’s next Day Zero region, agriculture forum hears”. Fin24. Available at www.fin24.com/Economy/gauteng-could-be-sas-next-day-zero-region-agriculture-forum-hears-20190827-2
- Molose V. 2019, August 6. “Water: A burden or blessing to women?” IOL. Available at www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/water-a-burden-or-blessing-to-women-30400198
- Botha L. 2019, July 18. “Water quality and quantity reach crisis levels”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/water-quality-and-quantity-reach-crisis-levels/
- Reporter. 2019, May 24. “SA’s private sector could fix SA water crisis in as little as three years”. Water & Sanitation Africa. Available at http://infrastructurenews.co.za/2019/05/24/sas-private-sector-could-fix-sa-water-crisis-in-as-little-as-three-years/
- Petterson D. 2019, April 1. “Is enough being done to preserve our water?” Water & Sanitation Africa. Available at http://infrastructurenews.co.za/2019/04/01/is-enough-being-done-to-preserve-our-water/
- Petterson D. 2019, April 1. “Water pollution – SA’s biggest threat to water security”. Water & Sanitation Africa. Available at http://infrastructurenews.co.za/2019/04/01/water-pollution-sas-biggest-threat-to-water-security/
- Odendaal N. 2018, December 11. “Outa, WSSA call for establishment of an independent water regulator”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/outa-wssa-call-for-establishment-of-an-independent-water-regulator-2018-12-11
- Agbiz. 2018, July 11. “2018 Agbiz Congress – Water: urgent call to action”. Available at https://agbiz.co.za/news/741/105/2018-Agbiz-Congress-Water-Urgent-call-to-action
- Odendaal N. 2018, July 9. “Climate change not the only reason for water shortages – Muller”. Engineering News. Available at www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/climate-change-not-the-only-reason-for-water-shortages-muller-2018-07-09
- McHale M, Bunn D and Riddell E. 2018, May 21. “Small, local solutions can crack water crises”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/small-local-solutions-can-crack-water-crises-a-south-african-case-study-94998
- Drury F. 2018, May 13. “Icebergs and empty pools: Five things Cape Town’s Day Zero taught us”. BBC News. Available at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43989106
- Mahr K. 2018, May 4. “How Cape Town was saved from running out of water”. The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/04/back-from-the-brink-how-cape-town-cracked-its-water-crisis
- World Economic Forum. 2018, April 19. “We can turn our wastewater into a valuable resource”. Eye Witness News. Available at http://ewn.co.za/2018/04/19/we-can-turn-our-wastewater-into-a-valuable-resource
- Tewari D.D. 2017. “Water markets in South Africa: are they working or will they work?” Available at https://2017.essa.org.za/fullpaper/essa_3630.pdf
- Dludla S. 2017, December 5. “SA water minister urges business community to invest in water infrastructure”. Business Report. Available at www.iol.co.za/business-report/companies/sa-water-minister-urges-business-community-to-invest-in-water-infrastructure-12273676
- Read about UCT student Nkosinathi Nkomo’s AquaRenu system which purifies grey water from the bathroom (shower, bathtub, and basin), and stores it to be used for irrigation and toilet flushing at www.702.co.za/articles/277013/uct-engineering-student-creates-affordable-grey-water-system.
Refer to the many websites under the “African business environment” and “International business environment” headings.
- Cecchini C. 2020, April 15. “5 lessons for the future of water”. World Economic Forum. Available at www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/covid-19-water-what-can-we-learn/
- Dehghan S. 2020, January 8. “Water wars: early warning tool uses climate data to predict conflict hotspots”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jan/08/water-wars-early-warning-tool-uses-climate-data-to-predict-conflict-hotspots
- Peyton N. 2019, December 24. “Africa should leapfrog high tech to solve infrastructure problems”. Business Report. Available at www.iol.co.za/business-report/international/africa-should-leapfrog-high-tech-to-solve-infrastructure-problems-39319222
- Africa Check. 2019, March 22. “World Water Day: 10 facts – some surprising – about Africa’s water”. Africa Check. Available at https://africacheck.org/reports/worldwaterday-10-facts-some-surprising-about-africas-water
- The Official 700 Club. 2013. “Made in Israel: Water”. YouTube. Available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7G9v6JdYwc
- CAJ News. 2018. “SADC must invest in rivers to curb water shortages”. The Southern Times. Available at https://southerntimesafrica.com/site/news/sadc-must-invest-in-rivers-to-curb-water-shortages
- Harvey, F. 2018, June 18. “Are we running out of water?” The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/18/are-we-running-out-of-water
- Muller, M. 2016, October 20. “Trade can help poor countries cope with water shortages, and food security”. The Conversation. Available at https://theconversation.com/trade-can-help-poor-countries-cope-with-water-shortages-and-food-security-67088
- Find the BBC Terrific Scientific water investigation at www.bbc.co.uk/terrificscientific/curations/zscgk2p
- Watch RT articles like “World Bank’s Takeover of Water” and “This Man Went to Prison for Collecting Rainwater“.
- UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) researchers say that water rarely leads to conflict but encourage co-operation. Find the 2013 “There is no evidence of coming ‘water wars'” at www.unesco.org.
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