Good water governance is key to South Africa’s future

water crisis in south africaStakeholders in the water sector expressed concern that South Africa could face a serious crisis if water regulation is not seriously implemented.

This came during a provincial stakeholders’ consultative workshop held in Mahikeng on Tuesday. The workshop was meant to solicit inputs on the second edition of the proposed National Water Resource Strategy 2, which was gazetted on October 7 and is open for a 90-day public consultation.

Another meeting was held yesterday in Rustenburg as efforts to mobilise sector participation and engagement in the process of finalising the National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS-2) gain momentum.

Numerous water sector stakeholders who attended the workshop included the Sedibeng water board, district and local municipalities, government departments and water bodies like Lethabo Water and Sanitation and Botshelo Water.

Addressing delegates, Water Affairs official Fred van Zyl said it was possible for South Africa to have water security but it would depend on the effective participation of stakeholders in the water sector.

“We should reprioritise the strategic role of water, improve its governance and regulate the sector because South Africa is a water-scarce country. The nation is at risk if the approach to water preservation is not taken seriously and if adequate interventions are not applied. That is why we need sector mobilisation, because involvement and accountability are critical issues in unlocking the potential in us managing our water resources,” he said.

Van Zyl said according to the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998), the NWRS-2 strategy is a requirement in protecting, managing, developing, conserving and controlling water resources.

“The first edition, the NWRS-1 was published in 2004 and set out the blueprint for water resources management in the country for the first time. One of the areas where NWRS-1 has not been effective is in relation to equity and redress in access to water. The draft second edition of the NWRS-2 – which provides a framework for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of water resources in South Africa – sets out strategies for achieving effective water resource management,” he said.

Some of the stakeholder called for renewal of infrastructure, investing in human capabilities, stimulating innovation and participation in the governance and management of water by all.

Source: The New Age (By Elfas Torerai)

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