Posted on 12 November 2012.
South Africa is way ahead of the US when it comes to water policies and preserving water but lacks the skills to implement these policies.
This was the view of some of the foremost local and international experts on water sustainability at a water indaba in Johannesburg yesterday.
The indaba, organised by auditing firm Deloitte & Touche, looked at the challenges of water scarcity facing the country and possible solutions.
William Sarni, a water consultant, warned that unless water was dealt with in the same manner as the energy crisis, there was a real danger that there would not be enough water to sustain the country with a 17% gap between demand and supply by 2030.
Sarni said: “Water must be viewed as a national and security issue.
“The public needs to understand that water is valuable and that it has nothing to do with price. It’s a public and business issue.”
Nirali Shah, Deloitte & Touche’s business risk manager, said: “Critical skills are needed to properly manage water in the country, especially when it comes to financial management.
“There are not appropriate skills to deal with water and the business side is also lacking such things as the proper maintenance of water meters.”
She identified poor governance and lack of leadership within municipalities as a problem.
“Government should maybe consider public-private partnership models to ensure that we do not end up with a serious water crisis.
“Municipalities would only concentrate on running the outcome instead of the input,” she said.
Although there was no clear indication of how much water the country used. What was known was that Eskom and agriculture were strategic users of water.
“Agriculture would require an efficiency strategy,” Shah said. “Currently agriculture’s demand on water is below the needs of Eskom.
“But the fact remains that the right value system would be needed to ensure that agriculture uses water efficiently,” Shah added.
There was no need to develop new infrastructure but the country had to maintain its current water infrastructure, said Shah.
Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2012/11/12/sa-may-run-short-of-water-indaba-hears/
SA may run short of water, indaba hears