South Africa

South Africa’s Multi-stakeholder Platform

Work Streams

Water Efficiency and Leakage Reduction: Building on the No Drop certification strategy and scorecard already under implementation, this working group has now finalized a Performance Based Contracting toolkit to assist municipalities in implementing loss reduction programs. About 37 percent of South Africa’s municipal water is lost before it reaches the customer. This is known as non-revenue water, and it is estimated to cost the country more than 7 billion South African rand per year ($500 million). The strategy spells out key performance areas, processes, systems and timelines, and provides specific criteria and scores to assess and evaluate a municipality’s water-use efficiency. This toolkit has been adopted by the South Africa Local Government Authority (SALGA), which has integrated it into a new R90 million grant fund (US$9m) with Rand Water which can be accessed by municipalities in Gauteng. Over the past year, the strategy has been implemented in eight metropolitan municipalities, which together account for more than 90 percent of total municipal losses and 47 percent of South Africa’s total water demand. The aim is to reduce water losses from 37 percent to 18 percent, reducing the water needs with more than 630 million m3 (23.3 percent of South Africa’s projected water gap) and more than 2.5 billion South African rand.

Effluent and Waste Water Management: The analytical and institutional design phases of the mining water management project have now been completed. This work has started with a test case in the mining-intensive and water-scarce Olifants region. Improving water management in the mining industry in this region alone could save an aggregate of 52.2 million m3 of water per year by 2020. Should this water be used effectively, savings in the Olifants River catchment alone could close South Africa’s 17 percent projected water gap by about 14.5 percent by 2030. Through this work, the SWPN has identified the four main drivers of the mine water management problem: diverse responses by mining companies to the problem; inconsistency, incoherence and weak enforcement of mining regulation; inadequate and inappropriate financing for mine water management while mines are still in operation; and inadequate regional planning and cooperation between mines, within government and between mines and government. This has resulted in a business case for a proposed Coordinating Body for mine-water management in the Witbank Catchment (the area being used as a demonstration case for the SWPN project). SWPN-SA partners are establishing a coordinating body to tackle the potentially complex regulatory, institutional, and financial challenges that will enable the reuse of treated mine water to increase water supply in the area. Once established, the coordinating body will identify and implement a flagship project in the catchment. The working group on wastewater management has already identified a suitable project on managing saline coal-mine water using irrigation.

Agriculture and Supply Chain Water (ASC): The SWPN working group has developed a project concept to help reduce the losses and improve farming practices to help enhance agricultural water use efficiency. Promising recent progress has been made under this working group. The SWPN-SA is implementing a program to expand the reach of the National Water Administration System, an integrated irrigation water management tool that has already reduced water abstraction with more than 81 million m3 across 13 irrigation systems since 2009. The SWPN-SA helped implement the Water Administration System’s water release module across four irrigation initiatives to minimize water losses, improve management and productivity, and simplify water release calculations. Building on this initial success, the SWPN-SA aims to implement the system in another six irrigation initiatives.
Irrigation projects in South Africa require substantial infrastructure investment to reduce water losses and expand their reach to new farmers. The SWPN-SA is developing a business case for a major rehabilitation of the 35,000 hectare Vaalharts system in partnership with the National Agriculture Marketing Council, which could reduce the water needs with an additional 40 million m3 of water per year. The refurbishment will require both public and private sector finance. Stakeholder consultations are under way and the project is expected to ultimately provide a model for replication with other irrigation systems in the country.

Key Partners

The South Africa Water Partners’ Network has been able to engage with a wide range of different stakeholders over the years and we are working towards further diversification by involving more partners from the private, public and civil society sectors.
key partners-south africa