Investment in South Africa’s water resources needs to double in the next 10 years if the country is to meet growing demand, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said.
“It’s going to require a lot of money but the demands require us to put more funding into water infrastructure,” Molewa told reporters in Pretoria.
“At the same time, we need to emphasise the importance of saving what we have.”
According to the draft National Water Resource Strategy released by the department on Monday, South Africa will require up to R670-billion to beef up its entire water sector over the next 10 years, with a funding gap of R338-billion having been identified.
Molewa said the strategy addresses concerns that the socio-economic growth of South Africa could be restricted if water security, quality and management were not resolved.
The document identifies inadequate financing and poor investment in maintenance and refurbishment of water infrastructure as challenges that need to be tackled in the short term.
Molewa could not say if the required investment in water would mean tariff increases for the consumer.
The department had identified a shortage of skills in the water sector, with the shortage of engineers described as critical. There was also an apparent lack of capacity and management of the available water resources.
The strategy further says the energy sector, which only uses 2% of water, is highly reliant on the efficient supplies of water for electricity generation and if this supply was threated, South Africa’s economy could suffer the consequences.
27 August 2012
It is quite concerning to think we need that kind of an investment to maintain our infrastructure. Not sure who would be willing to invest with so many strikes and protests going on on an almost non-stop basis. And if we don’t get the required investment? Then what? Does it mean we will be facing severe water shortages or what? Unfortunately we cannot wait for disaster to strike first when it concerns water. Harvest rainwater and be in control of your own water supply. Why allow somebody else to control something that is free?