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OVERVIEW

Water New dams and water pipelines are under construction.

SECTOR INSIGHT KwaZulu-Natal will host the AfriWater Conference in 2017. • Nedbank is sponsoring water conservation efforts. • Groundwater is becoming more important to planners.

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eavy rains fell in KwaZulu-Natal in 2017, finally breaking a long drought. Over two years, the national Department of Water and Sanitation spent R1.2-billion on drought alleviation in the province. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development found R220-million in the most recent budget to provide lifelines to affected farmers and communities. Interventions included the drilling of new boreholes, the installation of mobile packaged plants, the purchase of new water tankers and the creation of off-channel water storage to supplement raw water supply. One of the many challenges faced by the South African water sector is a shortage of engineers. A study jointly commissioned by the Water Research Commission and the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) found that the country’s four-in-a-million ratio of engineers is a long way from the required 50 per million. One response at national level was the importation of Cuban engineers to assist in the short term. The Danish government has an agreement to help the South African government with water management and water efficiency. Companies such as smart-meter specialist Kamstrup are already active in the country. A local solution was put in place in September 2015 when the first batch of young people started training to become Water Agents, Plumbers and Artisans. The goal for KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2017/18

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the first phase is to train 15 000 young people. Umgeni Water, the province’s biggest water utility, has launched the Adopt-a-River Project, which aims to keep rivers clean, raise awareness and create jobs. On the Ncandu River that runs through Newcastle, 49 people received training in various skills such as first aid, herbicide application and alien plant identification. About 34% of the country’s water is lost due to leakage and water to the value of R7-billion is lost every year (National Department of Water and Sanitation). South Africa has adopted a National Water Resource Strategy which takes into account groundwater to a far greater degree than previous plans. This despite many rural settlements depending almost entirely on this resource.

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017/18  

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...

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