South Africa's water shortage challenges cannot be isolated from wastewater management systems which have been under pressure since 2010. There are warnings of a looming crisis which could leave the country without water in just 11 years. But it is only now, it appears, that the Department of Water and Sanitation is waking up to this possibility.
On Tuesday, 2 April, Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the department, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority. According to the department, this signals a new approach to procurement and project management processes of major water projects in the country.
This memorandum of understanding will allow the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority to manage projects including the Giyani Water project, the Nandoni Nsani Pipeline, the Vaal Gamagara project and the Tzaneen Dam.
The department's renewed efforts coincided with two visits made to the Vaal region by the department and the South African Human Rights Commission.
The Vaal River system is an example of an area where wastewater treatment plants have collapsed, resulting in sewage spillages into the river catchment and people's homes. This...