Almost R900bn needed for national master plan to eradicate SA's water challenges

2019-11-28 17:18
Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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An estimated R900bn will be required to ensure the country's water security for the next 10 years and beyond. 

This is based on the financial model by the Department of Water and Sanitation in its national water master plan.  

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu launched the plan at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR) in Pretoria on Thursday. 

Addressing Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille, mayors as well as various stakeholders in the agriculture, farming and water sector, Sisulu said the plan outlined a series of urgent steps that would be taken and implemented by all stakeholders in the industry. 

The plan was approved by Cabinet last year and highlights priority action required to address the water challenges faced by the country until 2030 and beyond.

In collaboration with National Treasury, Sisulu said, the financial position of the department was being regularised so that the focus would be squarely on water security.  

She added while there was no stable cost budget for the plan, the department would work with the resources given to it by the Treasury and investments from the private sector. 

"We costed actions that are possible within our budget," Sisulu said. 

According to the 68-page master plan document, almost R900bn would be required to ensure water security by 2030 and beyond. The document states that there is R567bn available and R333bn short to fill the gap. 

Capacitate municipalities

Sisulu added while the Auditor-General had declared the department bankrupt, it now needed to review its processes and carry out its work differently to account correctly.

The document also outlines immediate interventions that the department, working closely with public works will implement to respond to water challenges.

Other interventions include infrastructure investment and maintenance, capacity of municipalities, transformation in the sector, licencing of water use, as well as the capacity of the department and its agencies to ensure that communities and businesses have water security.

"We will prioritise capacitating municipalities through a team of experts and professionals who will assist municipalities to discharge their responsibilities effectively and also progressively help them build required capacity."

Other objectives of the plan was to eliminate wastage and any loss due to corruption and mismanagement of resources, Sisulu said. 

Another objective was to address the water and sanitation goals of the country as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by UN member states - in particular SDG6: - as well as the African Union Agenda 2063, Sisulu said. 

Turnaround time for water use licences

Farmers will also be given better capacity to ensure that water license use has certificates that are fast-tracked. 

"We do know that there has been a complaint about us around the issuing of water use licences which have been one of our biggest challenges because of the long time it takes us to process them."

Previously, the turn-around time for the production of licences could take up to three years. The minister announced that this had now been reduced to 49 days. 

"The master plan builds on policies that have been successful in the past, and we revisit and revise them to make them applicable for today," Sisulu said.

It also aims to reduce the water demands and water losses at all major irrigation and agricultural schemes by 2030 without affecting productions, set caps on municipal water use by cutting targets over time, reduce water demand and increase the water efficiencies of industrial users.

Read more on:    csir  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  water  |  weather  |  drought
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