Water Farms and factories are becoming water wise.
SECTOR INSIGHT W WF-South Africa and Woolworths are working on rural water plans. • UCT researchers have won a Water Research Commission prize. • French company Veolia is installing desalination plants.
n 2030 South African demand for water will be 17% greater than supply. That is the verdict of the 2030 Water Resources Group. The Western Cape’s dams were at 61% in the fourth quarter of 2016, against 90% at the same time in 2015. The biggest provincial dam, which is Cape Town’s main source of water as well as providing irrigation for farms, Theewaterskloof, stood at 52%, 14% down on the previous year. Elsewhere: • Garden Route Dam (George) was at 72% versus 100% in 2015 • Kammanasie Dam (Oudtshoorn) was at 29% versus 100% in 2015 • Hartebeestkuil Dam (Mossel Bay) was at 52% versus 88% in 2015 In November 2016, the City of Cape Town introduced level-three water restrictions, banning all irrigation systems and hosepipes for domestic lawns. The good news is that South Africa and the Western Cape are doing something about the situation. Times of crisis can also be times when innovation and entrepreneurship come to the fore. The Water Resources Group, an international consortium of private companies, agencies and development banks, has established a South African chapter, the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN). It has a focus on three things: water efficiency and leakage reduction; effluent and wastewater management; and the agricultural supply chain. SWPN aims to support government and programmes have been put in place in all three areas that are showing results. The Western Cape Provincial Government has a two-pronged strategy: new water infrastructure for agriculture and water demand WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
management programmes to improve efficiency. In terms of its water infrastructure and maintenance of its wastewater treatments plants, the Western Cape fares relatively well compared to most other South African regions. Only 3% of households reported to the General Household Survey of 2014 that their water services had been interrupted. Fully 87.7% were satisfied with water delivery services. Access to water and sanitation in the province is generally very good. A provincial scheme to improve rivers has been outlined by Premier Helen Zille. The River Improvement Plan ultimately seeks to improve the lives of people living alongside rivers, but also ensure that river water quality enhances the region’s economy. The fruit, grape and wine sectors need good