Corporate News

Water Partnership for South Africa Launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa

By Desirée Mohindra
  • Water demand set to rise by 52% within the next 30 years in South Africa
  • South Africa joins the governments of Jordan, Mexico and the State of Karnataka in India as a partner with the Water Resources Group

Cape Town, South Africa  At the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa Edna Molewa, Chairman of Nestlé and Chairman of the Water Resources Group Peter Brabeck-Letmathe announced today a Declaration of Partnership. Recognizing the critical role that water plays as a catalyst for both economic growth and social development, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) of South Africa forges a partnership with the Water Resources Group (WRG), an influential public-private global network on water supported by the World Economic Forum and the International Finance Corporation. This new public-private group, chaired by the director-general of the DWA, will oversee the activities of a partnership called “South Africa Strategic Water Partners Network” to address critical water issues in South Africa: water conservation, demand management and developing more sustainable management of groundwater resources.

“This new partnership between the Government of South Africa and the Water Resources Group will help identify how South Africa’s plans for growth can be met with the water it has safely available. The foresight and leadership of Minister Molewa in this regard should be applauded” remarked Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé and Chairman of the Water Resources Group.

In South Africa, water demand is expected to rise by 52% within the next 30 years while the supply of water is sharply declining. If current trends of leakage from aged and poorly maintained municipal infrastructure and the loss of wetlands persist, this growth in demand will intensify competition for water resources across all sectors of the economy (agriculture, energy industry and domestic). Should status quo in management practices remain, a gap of 17% between water demand and supply is forecast by 2030. This gap will have serious social and political implications and strongly impact South Africa’s plans for economic growth.

“The Water Resources Group partnership will enable South Africa to access best practice economics, projects and policies in water management from public, private and civil society sectors around the world, enabling officials to field-test and replicate actions for implementation domestically,” explained Dominic Waughray, Senior Director, Head of Environmental Initiatives at the World Economic Forum, and member of the Water Resources Group.

The group will focus on key areas:

  • Water conservation and demand management: increasing water use efficiency (in agriculture, industry and households) and reducing leakage from distribution networks (municipal and others, including irrigation)
  • Diversifying the water mix: increasing the reuse of effluent and desalination (sea water and acid mine drainage), and developing more sustainable management of groundwater resources, in particular for rural areas

The partnership will deliver two primary outputs: first, it will assist the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) in developing sector strategies (agriculture, energy, industry) related to the key areas. Each sector strategy will:

  • Identify a pipeline of potential projects and access its collective potential to close the water volume gap if implementation takes place
  • Identify challenges for project replication
  • Recommend a strategy to overcome challenges, including incentives for widespread adoption and contributions by each stakeholder to enable replication

Second, the partnership will provide expert support to help the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) consult with domestic stakeholders and design these pilot projects. Expertise provided from the WRG network will help NBF to:

  • Develop joint public-private expert collaborations to structure and take forward the pilot projects
  • Highlight the DWA-WRG partnership at COP 17 in Durban as a practical example of what South Africa is doing to manage its water security and adapt to climate change

Clear government ownership of the process is crucial to success and the inclusion of domestic public and private stakeholders. To this end, a public-private expert leadership group, chaired by the director-general of the DWA, will be formed to oversee the work. This new group will formally be called the “South Africa Strategic Water Partners Network”. Stakeholders to be invited will include:

  • Department of Water Affairs (chairperson: the director-general)
  • Industry (key economic sectors such as food/beverage, mining and metals, energy)
  • Other governmental departments (national treasury, national planning commission, local government)
  • Development finance institutions (Development Bank of Southern Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, International Finance Corporation)
  • Business organizations (NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), National Business Initiative (NBI)
  • Civil society organizations (including WWF South Africa)
  • Multilateral and bilateral development agencies working in South Africa
  • A senior representative of WRG

Key partners of the WRG include The Coca-Cola Company, International Finance Corporation, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Veolia Environment. The Water Resources Group (WRG) is a public-private platform for collaboration. It mobilizes stakeholders from the public and private sector, civil society, centres of academic expertise and financing institutions to engage in fact-based, analytical approaches and coalition building initiatives that help governments to catalyse sustainable water sector transformation in support of their economic growth plans. WRG engages with those governments who invite it to work on a comprehensive water sector reform strategy and then it provides a public-private approach to support them.

Notes to Editors

For more on Water Resources Group (WRG) go to http://www.weforum.org/issues/water

Read the Declaration of Partnership

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The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).

Ministry to Cooperate with 2030 Water Resources Group

by B.Khuder

The Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Green Development has established a cooperation memorandum with the 2030 Water Resources Group.

Ministry-to-cooperate-with-2030-Water-Resources-GroupThe document was inked on Tuesday at the end of a sub-meeting themed “Water resources of Mongolia is a developmental accelerator” within the World Economic Forum Strategic Dialogue on the Future of Mongolia.

Read More »

Mines and government work on closing water gap

The Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN-SA) is in the process of identifying institutional and pricing models to incentivise collaboration between government and mining companies in ‘closing the water gap’ by increasing the treatment and reuse of mine water, reports Legalbrief Policy Watch.

This is according to Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who made the announcement during an address to participants in a water session at the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Summit on Africa. According to the Minister, the work of the SWPN-SA was pivotal in developing the second draft of government’s national water resources strategy, published during July last year.

Water Resources Group: A new model for water sector transformation

By Ramya Krishnaswamy

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 kicked off yesterday exploring the most pressing challenges that our world faces today. A strong green thread runs across Davos this year, where many discussions are focused on realizing growth in a sustainable manner. Given their importance to economic growth and social development aspirations of countries and societies around the world, water issues are among the most pressing we face and must tackle without delay. Today at Davos, the Water Resources Group (WRG) – a new global partnership on water – emerges as a new model of collaboration to manage water resources for long-term growth and sustainability.

True – many noteworthy partnerships already exist in the water sector. WRG aspires to complement and support such initiatives, drawing in new actors to come together in constructive dialogue and develop joint solutions to ensure that water enhances growth, not constrains it. The extensive WRG network of expertise contributes to developing a holistic approach, considering water issues alongside energy, food security and environmental issues for integrated solutions. But what is the value of a good idea if not tested in practice?

To date, WRG partners with five governments – Karnataka State of India, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa and Mongolia. Two short years of activity are already yielding results. Insight developed by WRG is being used to shape national water strategies (Mexico’s 2030 Water Agenda and the revision of Jordan’s national water strategy). WRG is also supporting the formation of new stakeholder collaborations (South Africa’s Strategic Water Partners Network and Jordan’s vision to create a National Water Council).

An emerging new model that has demonstrated initial success, the WRG has yet many new partnerships to form and lessons to learn. Driven by the spirit of innovation and continuous improvement at its core, reinforced by the support of multistakeholder champions globally, it is an important step towards securing access to water for human and economic development in water-scarce countries. More fundamentally, WRG can prove to be a truly new model for impact-orientated development.

Today, WRG moves to a new home at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), on behalf of the World Bank Group. Water expert Anders Berntell has been appointed Executive Director, to take WRG to its next stage and continued success.

Mongolian President Declares Intent to Form New Alliance for Water Security

By Richard Elliott

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 7 June – Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia and Peter
Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the World Economic Forum-Water Resources Group and Member of the World Economic Forum Foundation Board, committed to form a Mongolian Water Alliance of key government entities, civil society representatives and private sector participants to support the transformation of Mongolia’s water sector.

At the invitation of President Elbegdorj, the World Economic Forum-Water Resources Group
and Office of the President of Mongolia co-organized the Water Secure Future in Mongolia conference in Ikh Tenger, a special complex in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in which over 100 government officials, parliamentarians, civil society and private sector representatives participated to explore ways to safeguard Mongolia’s scarce water resources in the context of its rapid economic growth.

The conference debated pressing issues about water use in the mining, agricultural and municipal sectors, sharing case studies of international good practice for boosting water efficiency and ways of safeguarding Mongolia’s water supplies. Conference delegates agreed on the need to coordinate public and private information and activities in Mongolia’s water sector and, for immediate action, involved all stakeholders to deepen the country’s range of economic choices, to identify practical demand and supply options, and to develop a robust implementation plan.

In a follow-up meeting, President Elbegdorj and Brabeck-Letmathe committed to form a Mongolian Water Alliance of key government entities, civil society representatives and private sector participants with the Water Resources Group to support the transformation of Mongolia’s water sector.

President Elbegdorj said, “Managing our future water needs is key to sustaining Mongolia’s economic growth. We must ensure fast and effective implementation of our National Water Plan. We will benefit from the international networks and experience of the Water Resources Group to help us do so.”

Brabeck-Letmathe said, “The foresight and leadership of President Elbegdorj in recognizing the importance of water to Mongolia’s economic growth should be applauded. We are excited that Mongolia intends to join the ranks of countries such as Mexico, Jordan and South Africa that are also taking active leadership, with the support of the Water Resources Group, to find practical solutions that match sustainable water resource management with their plans for economic growth.”

The Mongolian economy is expected to grow by a factor of four in the next two decades, driven particularly by its abundant mineral wealth. Mongolian water experts at the conference noted that it takes about 4 m3 of water to move each 1 m3 of ore and that most of the mineral deposits are found in water scarce areas of the country.

About the Water Resources Group

The World Economic Forum-Water Resources Group (WRG) is an innovative public-private platform
for collaboration to mobilize stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, centers of academic expertise and financing institutions to engage in fact-based, analytical approaches and coalition-building initiatives that help governments to catalyse sustainable water sector.