The government’s National Water and Sanitation Master Plan has been released.
Speaking at the launch in Tshwane on 28 November, Minister of Human Settlements, Water, and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu warned that the country was water-stressed, with among the lowest average rainfall in the world, a situation which stood to be aggravated by climate change and a growing population.
The plan envisaged spending some R900 billion over the coming decade to revamp the country’s water and sanitation infrastructure. It would also require a change in the institutional structure. The minister remarked that the breadth and complexity of the department’s mandate made it difficult for the department as currently constituted to handle. ‘For this reason, it has long been proposed that some of these activities should be delegated to new, specialised, organisations.’
It would also be necessary to encourage innovation and new investment in the water and sanitation space: ‘Our water security can only be guaranteed by a combination of what we call green smart technology and a great game plan, and the know-how and superb human capital in the water and sanitation sector.’
Department spokesman, Sputnik Ratau, noted that the strategy should be viewed as aligning with the National Development Plan and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
South Africa’s water security has been a major concern for the country for many years. Water shortages have been a feature of life in South Africa’s major cities, notably Cape Town.