South African Government

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in KwaZulu-Natal, led by the Provincial Head, Mr Ashley Starkey, held a consultation session about the National Water Resource Strategy, edition 3, this was on Friday, 23 September 2022

Mr Starkey set the scene by giving an overview of the state of water in the province, indicating that water availability in the province would not be an issue if there was sufficient efficiency of the use thereof. In the province, forestry seems to be the major user of water, with food production and municipal use in close proximity.

The provincial head highlighted that one of the bugbears over time was the processing of water use licences, in particular the agricultural sector being the most aggrieved. Mr Starkey further indicated that in the province there has been significant improvement in the processing thereof and within a much shorter period.

Addressing the issue of the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal that led to the erosion of homes, roads and severe damage to the water and sanitation infrastructure, the provincial head emphasised that work is underway to repair the damaged infrastructure although the costs have been enormous, and also mentioned examples of collaborative efforts that can resolve the difficulties and challenges of water availability

“eThekwini has started with repairs to the WWTWs; these were devastated by the impact of the floods. The cost of devastation on water and sanitation infrastructure through the floods is just over a billion Rand”, Mr Starkey said.

Dr Chris Moseki speaking on behalf of the Deputy Director-General: Water Resources Management, provided an overview and the purpose of the NWRS-3. The background furnished by Dr Moseki encompassed but was not limited to the following: climate change: increased temperatures, decreased rainfall yet more intense, and impact on frequency of climate. He also addressed the real value of water and ensuring delivery of water from the source to the tap, including support to the municipalities.

A number of breakaway commissions were set up during the consultation session focussing on issues such as increasing water supply, reducing water demand, ensuring financial sustainability, enhancing research, development and innovations, improving raw water quality, managing water under a changing planet, protecting and restoring ecological water infrastructure, creation of effective water sector institutions and regulating the water and sanitation sector.

After some lengthy discussions from the breakaway sessions, a number of suggestions were made with a view of providing solutions to the challenge of provision of adequate water. Among the proposals that were made was the prioritisation of groundwater as a way to augment water supply, improvement of urban planning to prevent water pollution, creation of platforms to promote ideas in the water sector and it was also pronounced that the research levy is not enough to fund research in South Africa and the option of sourcing international funding to conduct research in the water sector was put forward. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.