September 29, 2014

South Africa Faces Water Crisis

WaterSan Perspective
September 29, 2014

South Africa is facing a water crisis and the government’s current plans to address it are not sufficient.

This is according to the latest paper of the African Futures project released at a seminar in Pretoria, South Africa in September 2014.

The paper Parched Prospects: The Emerging Water Crisis in South Africa by ISS consultant Steve Hedden and ISS Executive Director Dr Jakkie Cilliers, argues that South Africa is already over-exploiting its freshwater resources on a national level and that water demand is growing faster than reliable supply.

“This means that over-exploitation will only increase in the future” said Cilliers at the seminar.

Water supply and management remains a problem in several developing countries

Water supply and management remains a problem in several developing countries

The African Futures project at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is a partnership between the ISS and the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver. The International Futures (IFs) forecasting software from the Pardee Center is used to model and provide a forecast for water supply and demand out to 2035 for the agriculture, industrial and municipal sectors.

“Our forecasts show that the current worrying gap between supply and demand will increase throughout the time horizon, even with the policy interventions currently proposed in the latest National Water Resource Strategy”, says Cilliers. The strategy was released by the Department of Water Affairs in 2013.

The analysis shows that over-exploitation of water resources will be a constraint on the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), limit growth, and leave South Africa vulnerable to shocks in the water system like droughts.

Four pillars of action are needed to ensure a water secure future for South Africa according to Dhesigen Naidoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Water Research Commission who also spoke at the seminar.

“These pillars are a strong science, technology and innovation knowledge base to provide sustainable solutions; good water infrastructure; excellent human capital to manage our water systems, and a massive correction in our wasteful water behaviors – both at personal and corporate levels”.

The authors of the African Futures paper argue for aggressive interventions, especially in demand management. Only in this way will South Africa be able to reconcile water demand with reliable supply.

Cilliers presented the “Closing the Gap” scenario that outlines the increases in supply and decreases in demand that will be required to achieve this goal.

September 19, 2014

Zimbabwe: African Governments Told To Prioritize WASH

Wallace Mawire
September 19, 2014

Participants at the sixth meeting for Water, Climate Development Programme (WACDEP) technical coordination programme for African countries have heard that African governments must prioritize Water, Sanitation and Hygiene issues as a prerequisite for sustainable development.

Speaking during this workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe, Laila Oualkacha, a representative to the Africa Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), noted that putting water and sanitation on top of their development agenda, African governments would be in a better position to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Bai Mass Taal, the Executive Secretary of African Ministers’ Council on Water

Bai Mass Taal, the Executive Secretary of African Ministers’ Council on Water

The meeting aimed at supporting integration of water security and climate resilience into development planning and decision making processes. It has been going on since Monday and will end today Friday.

Engineer Munashe Mvura, Chief Executive Officer of the of the Upper Manyame Sub-Cathment Council (UMSCC) for the GWP Zimbabwe Country Water Partnership Coordinator says the workshop was organized to facilitate the implementation of the WACDEP activities related to project preparation in eight countries of Cameroon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Rwanda and Tunisia including four transboundary river basins of Volta Basin, Lake Chad, Lake Victoria-Kagera, Limpopo Basin and one shared aquifer the North Western Sahara Aquifer system.

“The overall objective was to support integration of water security and climate resilience in development planning and decision making processes through enhanced technical and institutional capacity and predictable financing and investments in water security and climate change adaptation,” Engineer Mvura told our reporter.

GWP organized the meeting in collaboration with the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) water platform and African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).

September 12, 2014

Malawi: Water User Associations (WUAs) Bear Fruits

George Mhango
September 12, 2014

The Government of Malawi says the recently introduced Water User Associations (WUAs) in rural areas and market centres is bearing fruits.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) Malawi office, previously, rural piped water supply schemes were managed by voluntary organizations, called Scheme Management Committees to strengthen the sustainability of piped rural water supply schemes.
However, many of these schemes were not functioning properly, and as a result over 45% of the taps were not operational.

One of the water Kiosks in Ndirande Malawi where communal ownership is a problem

One of the water Kiosks in Ndirande Malawi where communal ownership is a problem

The WUAs are legal entities, which operate as “small water boards” at community level. They are, responsible for overseeing operation and maintenance of the rural piped schemes. As legal entities, WUAs aim to provide improved levels of service to their members through a Board of Trustees (BOT).

“In order to ensure efficiency in service delivery, WUAs will employee utility operators to manage the schemes, including collecting funds from consumer charges,” says the office as said in their newly introduced e-newsletter.

The office says funds collected are used for the operation, maintenance and expansion of the water supply schemes, thereby improving levels of service and sustaining the water supply infrastructure in line with measures to promote Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in rural areas.

“In order to facilitate the establishment of the WUAs, Malawi’s government developed guidelines to assist Implementing Entities and other service providers in establishing the Associations. WUA Training Manuals were also produced to assist different users to develop the competencies required to manage the water and sanitation systems efficiently and effectively. This is aimed at cost recovery and is done on a ‘willingness and ability to pay’ basis,” it says.

Water reforms have produced significant impacts on development, including improvements to drinking water access

Water reforms have produced significant impacts on development, including improvements to drinking water access

Tariff Guidelines have also been developed to assist WUAs and other stakeholders to set and implement realistic tariffs for rural water supply schemes. For the authorities in Malawi, this will improve their financial resource bases and ensure the sustainability of the systems.

Since the WUA management model is transitioning from a voluntary organization to a commercial entity, there are several challenges that need to be tackled with time. However, with the first WUAs established and registered to date, the experience has been encouraging. An initial assessment has shown that some of the WUAs have achieved financial break-even between expenses and income from fees.

Some have also started expanding their systems and installing more household connections.

According to the AfDB in Malawi, the success of this management model would alleviate the burden of supporting the piped schemes from the government and render the schemes more sustainable and productive. Nevertheless during the initial stages, as the WUAs are being established and the concept rolled out, the Associations need to be provided with limited operating expenses.

September 12, 2014

AfDB Launches E-Newsletter to Champion Water Issues

George Mhango
September 12, 2014

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched the inaugural RWSSI e-newsletter, which gives an overview of its recent activities in the rural water supply and sanitation sector under the bank’s Water and Sanitation Department (OWAS).

In the e-newsletter, OWAS has defined three strategic pillars, aligned with the bank’s vision for the next decade such as developing sustainable infrastructure and services for water security; promoting sector governance and knowledge management and; enhancing water sector collaboration and co-ordination to achieve integrated water resources management.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

According to the bank’s statement, such focus areas apply to both the urban and rural water and sanitation sector, which the bank management says are in line with Ten Year Strategy (TYS 2013-2022).

The strategy stipulates that in order ‘to drive sustainable growth, Africa must develop and manage its vast natural resources sustainably, with water central to agriculture, energy, health, industry and mining’.

The statement says the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) is an Africa-wide initiative, managed by the African Development Bank in close collaboration with the African Ministers’ Council on Water, civil society and governments.

The RWSSI is a regional framework for mobilizing partners, knowledge and investments needed to meet development goals in Africa’s rural areas.

Some of the issues in the e-newsletter include that water projects are funded through contributions from the bank, bilateral and multilateral agencies, African governments, communities and the RWSSI Trust Fund.

African Development Bank Logo

African Development Bank Logo

On the other hand the statement says the initiative supports rural water and sanitation projects and programmes with funding, advocacy and knowledge building so as to provide full and equitable access to safe, adequate and affordable water supply and sanitation in rural Africa by 2025.

According to the statement, the e-newsletter is aimed at giving an overview of the bank’s recent activities in the rural water supply and sanitation sector.

The newsletter is also available via the Bank’s web-site at: http://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/rural-water-supply-sanitation-initiative/

September 6, 2014

2014 World Water Week: Participants Call For Intimate Integration of Energy and Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

WaterSan Perspective
September 06, 2014

The 2014 World Water Week, focusing on energy and water has ended with participants jointly emphasizing the importance of a water goal, as well as intimate integration of energy and water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Week also concluded that water efficiency is one of the main tools in combating poverty and hunger.

A few obstacles overshadow all others in the fight to end poverty. One is the silo mentality. Sectors must break barriers between them and use synergies to their full potential. This message was underlined by Stockholm Statement on Water, released throughout the Week as a series of films and papers. Another is the gross inefficiencies in water use.

“To counter the challenge of booming water demand we must manage it in a far smarter way. It concerns our lives and our livelihoods. In five years I want us all in our daily lives to be as aware of water efficiency as we are of energy efficiency today,” Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute, told the closing session.

Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute

Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of Stockholm International Water Institute

World Water Week started with a call from some of the world’s leading water, environment and resilience scientists and experts, who said that better management of rain, is the only way hunger and poverty can be eradicated.

Without improved rainwater management, the future development goals currently being discussed are unrealistic, said the scientists, who include Professor Malin Falkenmark of Stockholm International Water Institute/Stockholm Resilience Centre and ProfessorJohan Rockström of Stockholm Resilience Centre.

During the Week, which broke all earlier attendance records with over 3,000 participants from more than 140 countries, water efficiency and ways to achieve it was highlighted in several sessions and discussions.

Mr. Neil Macleod of eThekwini Water and Sanitation in South Africa, spoke of the necessity to invent a toilet that does not need water. “The flushing toilet belongs in the history books, in the museums,” said Mr. Macleod, stating that a non-flush toilet would cut a household’s water use by 30 per cent and allow us to extract both fuel and fertiliser that today literally is flushed down the drain.

Rozemarijn ter Horst founder of the Water Youth Movement speaking during the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm

Rozemarijn ter Horst founder of the Water Youth Movement speaking during the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm

The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Ms. Maria van der Hoeven, spoke of the need to grow biofuels in areas that rely on rain rather than irrigation, something that would also lessen dependency on power to draw water.

“We must go from ideas to action, from goals to implementation. If we assume there will be a Sustainable Development Goal on water, we must now look at how it can be integrated with other goals and at concrete measures for implementation,” said Mr. Torgny Holmgren.

To feed into the soon-to-start UN member state negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, SIWI released the Stockholm Statement on Water, made up of five thematic arguments why water must not be forgotten when debating and negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals for future resilient societies; water for health, water for sustainable growth, water for agriculture, water for energy and water for climate.

“Nothing is set until the final decision in 2015. We need to keep up the pressure,” said Ms. Karin Lexén, SIWI Director of World Water Week, Prizes and International Processes.

Participants during the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm

Participants during the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm

The need for holistically approaching energy and water issues was reiterated by the IEA’s Ms. van der Hoeven, who said that “The water-energy nexus if firmly on the agenda of IEA. And so is development. We know that 1.2 billion people in the world lack electricity, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. We therefore applaud next year’s World Water Week theme, water and development.”

Ms. Amina Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, concluded that “Next year is a momentous year, it is a year of transformation. We are moving from a poverty agenda to a sustainable development agenda. That is no mean feat. We need leadership that is courageous, and I hope we can use the energy from this Week as a baton for the work we have ahead of us.”

September 6, 2014

South African Prof. Receives the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize

WaterSan Perspective and SIWI
September 06, 2014

Professor John Briscoe of South Africa has received the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize for his unparalleled contributions to global and local water management, inspired by an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people on the ground.

H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the prize to Prof. Briscoe at a Royal Award Ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm.

L-R, Professor John Briscoe receiving the award from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

L-R, Professor John Briscoe receiving the award from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

In its citation, the Stockholm Water Prize Committee stated that Professor John Briscoe “has combined world-class research with policy implementation and practice to improve the development and management of water resources as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation.”

On receiving the award, Professor Briscoe said he was “deeply honoured”, and that “one of my blessings is having had such great mentors.”

Today’s world is beset by daunting water challenges – human water security and biodiversity are at risk, global demand for water is soaring, and droughts and floods cause deadly disasters. These challenges cannot be met on one front alone. Professor Briscoe’s genius lies in his fusion of science, policy and practice, giving him unrivaled insights into how water should be managed to improve the lives of people worldwide.

Prof. Briscoe said: “I would like to emphasize the role of thinking practitioners, a group I am proud to be part of. It is not an academic job, nor is it a nine-to-five-fixing-bolts job. They are engaged in action, in a cycle of challenges and responses. I would like to quote Mike Tyson, who has said that ‘Everyone has a plan until you get smacked in the face’. It is about the ability to adjust to new circumstances.”

In the mid-1970s Briscoe lived in a small village in the interior of Bangladesh, and learned first-hand how infrastructure for protection from floods and droughts could transform the lives of the poor. Later in the 1970s Briscoe worked as an engineer in the government of newly independent Mozambique, learning that you were a credible policy maker only if you could help resolve basic problems of building and running infrastructure.

“At the end of the day, it is what happens on the ground that matters. All policies must be judged by whether they make a difference on the ground. I believe that the years I spent working at the micro level is what enables me to be an effective policy maker,” said Briscoe.

First presented in 1991, Stockholm Water Prize is the world’s most prominent award for outstanding achievements in water-related activities.

First presented in 1991, Stockholm Water Prize is the world’s most prominent award for outstanding achievements in water-related activities.

At the other end of Professor Briscoe’sspectrum of accomplishments is the 2003 Water Strategy for the World Bank. This strategy provided a new, creative and enduring benchmark for global understanding of the need for both better infrastructure and improved institutions. The strategy has had implications far beyond the water sector, helping to ensure that developing and emerging countries get a stronger voice in global governance.

Professor Briscoe brought his experience of high-level policy with him to Brazil as the World Bank Country Director in 2005. Brazil was one of the biggest of the World Bank’s borrowers, and John Briscoe was praised for bridging the divide between sound environmental management and economic development objectives in the Amazon and other parts of this rapidly developing nation.

Professor Briscoe has become known for his passionate commitment to sustainable economic development, his disrespect for constructed boundaries between sectors and people, and for his insistence that the voice of people who are affected be heard.

“It is vital to give primary attention to the effect on people who will live with the consequences of policies and projects. Equally important is the voice of political leaders who have to take account of all of their people and who have to make difficult choices among competing priorities.”

2014www-header

About John Briscoe
Professor John Briscoe did his undergraduate studies in civil engineering at the University of Cape Town and his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Harvard University. He has worked in dozens of countries around the world, and lived in his native South Africa, the United States, Bangladesh, Mozambique, India and Brazil. Professor Briscoe’sscientific expertise encompasses engineering, nutrition, epidemiology, demography, anthropology, political science and economics.

Professor Briscoe is known for his courage and pragmatism in tackling controversial issues, ranging from conflicts on international waters to novel approaches to integrating infrastructure, institutions and environmental sustainability in river basins.

As a professor in the schools of Engineering and Applied Science, Public Health and Government at Harvard University, his focus is on educating “the next generation of specialised integrators” – people who are deeply schooled in a discipline but also know how to work across disciplines. John Briscoe was born in Brakpan in South Africa. He is 66 years old, and a citizen of South Africa and Ireland.

About Stockholm Water Prize

The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award founded in 1991 and presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to an individual, organisation or institution for outstanding water-related achievements. The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives USD 150,000 and a crystal sculpture specially designed and created by Orrefors. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is patron of the prize.

Initially founded by the Stockholm Water Foundation to encourage research and development of the world’s water environment, the Stockholm Water Prize is additionally supported by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, International Water Association, Water Environment Federation and the City of Stockholm. The Founders of the Stockholm Water Prize are companies united in their strong conviction to push sustainability in the water sector. They are: Bacardi, Borealis & Borouge, DuPont, ERV, Fujitsu, Grundfos, HP, Kemira, KPMG Sweden, Ragn-Sells, Scandic, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), SJ (Swedish Railways), Snecma/Safran, Xylem and Ålandsbanken.

September 6, 2014

Seven Journalists Win Prestigious WASH Media Awards

WaterSan Perspective, WSSCC and SIWI
September 06, 2014

Up to seven journalists have won this year’s WASH Media Awards for their excellence in reporting on water, sanitation and hygiene-related (WASH) issues.

WASH Media Awards Winners

WASH Media Awards Winners

The journalists, their winning entries, and the award categories are:
• Marcelo Leite (Brazil): “The Battle of Belo Monte” (Category: Water and Energy)
• Natasha Khan (Canada) and Ketaki Gokhale (USA) “No Menstrual Hygiene For Indian Women Holds Economy Back” (Category: Equity and Inclusion in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
• Seun Aikoye (Nigeria):“Lagosians shun public toilets as open defecation continues” (Category: Ending Open Defecation)
• Mbali Chiya (South Africa): “Human Rights to Water and Sanitation”(Category: The Human Right to Water and Sanitation)
• Umaru Sanda Amadu (Ghana): “Water Wahala”(Category: WASH in the Future: The Post-2015 Development Agenda)
• Dilrukshi Handunnetti (Sri Lanka): “Sri Lankan Girls Miss out on Sanitation Gains” (Category: Monitoring WASH Commitments)

They received their awards on September 05, during a ceremony at the closing plenary session of the annual World Water Week in Stockholm.

In Stockholm this week, the journalists shared their experiences with leading water, sanitation, environment and development experts. The week concluded with a 2014 Stockholm Statement on Water, a collection of films and papers calling for a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Water.

Journalists are key partners for sanitation, hygiene and water sector professionals in their awareness raising, advocacy and behaviour change work.

Journalists play a central role in the highlighting of water and gender related issues and positioning of women as environmental leaders.

They greatly contribute to bringing in the spotlight the too often neglected issues of the necessity of toilets and hand washing for a dignified, safe and healthy life for billions of people.

The biannual WASH Media Awards competition is sponsored by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (www.wsscc.org) and More than 100 entries from 30 countries were evaluated by Mr. Mark Tran, a notable international correspondent for The Guardian, UK.

September 3, 2014

2014 World Water Week: Global Leaders Petition Energy and Water Communities to Work Together

WaterSan Perspective and SIWI
September 03, 2014

Global leaders are challenging the energy and water communities to work together to face some of the main challenges of our time, providing clean drinking water and energy for a growing world population.

The call came during the 24th annual World Water Week going on in Stockholm.

Opening Plenary of the 24th annual World Water Week

Opening Plenary of the 24th annual World Water Week

The theme of 2014 World Water Week is “Energy and Water”. Water and energy are interdependent in more ways than not. We need energy for pumping, storing, transporting and treating water, we need water for producing almost all sorts of energy. An increase or decrease in one will immediately affect the other. The two resources are also inseparable from sustainable development and must be tirelessly promoted in global decision-making.

Addressing the opening session of the Week, Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of World Water Week organizer Stockholm International Water Institute, said: “The challenges are immense. With the global demand for water projected to grow by 55 per cent between 2000 and 2050 and electricity demand expected to increase by 50 per cent in the next two decades, there is an urgent need for a closer relationship between the energy and water communities if we are to provide solutions for all peoples to prosper.”

Professor John Briscoe, 2014 Laureate of Stockholm Water Prize, spoke about water as a platform for growth, both of other sectors and society as a whole and said that “developing countries face big challenges. They have yet to mobilize those resources.” He added that there is “no eternal solution [to the water crisis], neither here nor there. Instead, there is a cycle of challenges and responses.”

In over 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the week, delegates will discuss ongoing and future work and collaboration between the energy and water communities

“One of the major challenges that our world faces today is providing modern energy services and water for billions without both. As global demand for both energy and water increases, we must think about the way we produce and use both to ensure shared prosperity for all citizens, protect the environment, achieve socio-economic development and secure peace and stability, said Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.

2014www-header

On Thursday 4 September, the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Prof. John Briscoe of South Africa, for his unparalleled contributions to global and local water management, inspired by an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people on the ground. The prize will be awarded to Prof. Briscoe by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, during a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall.

September 3, 2014

Uganda: Politicians Accused Of Preferring Votes to Conserving Wetlands

Chris Mugasha.
September 3, 2014

Environmentalists in Uganda have accused politicians in the country of preferring votes to conservation of wetlands.

They say politicians only caring about votes and do not support campaigns to evict wetland encroachers because they fear to lose votes in areas where evictions take place.

Wetlands are a reservoir of biodiversity. They act as a water purification system and help to control floods. Wetlands such as marshes, swamps, peat bogs, river deltas, tundra, mangroves, river flood plains, and lagoons cover about 11 per cent of Uganda.

Latest figures indicate that wetland destruction costs Uganda about two billion shillings a year while contamination of water resources costs Uganda about 38 billion shillings annually.

A man stands on top of roots for a destroyed wetland

A man stands on top of roots for a destroyed wetland

In the southwestern district of Kabale, 90 percent of wetlands there have been reclaimed. This is according to Joseph Tushabe, the District Environment Officer.

He says they were reclaimed to pave way for agriculture activities such as dairy farming, forestry and tea growing.

Tushabe notes that by 1970 all wetlands in the district were still intact but within the next five years they will be no more.

“Politicians are a problem in managing the environment, they feed the President and the local people on wrong information,” Tushabe notes.

Mary Jude, the Lwengo District Environment Officer laments that every time they evict people from wetlands, politicians urge them to return.

“We evict people from wetlands but politicians tell them to go back and plant,” Mary laments.

The environment officers were speaking at Katungu mothers’ union centre in Bushenyi town during a function to reward 10 people for their role in conserving the Grey crowned Crane as a result of protecting wetlands which are their habitats. The Grey crowned Crane is Uganda’s national bird.

Benon Karyaija, the Mitooma District Chairperson agrees with the environmentalists but petitions them to implore government to lay stringent measures that would help households in the country to generate increased income so that they don’t depend on wetlands for survival.

Naboth Baguma, Mitooma District Environment Officer says unless political leaders realize the importance of conserving environment, government’s programs on food security will not succeed.

Speaking during the same occasion, Jimmy Muheebwa from Nature Uganda who is also the Whitley fund for nature award winner highlighted the need to sensitize people on the importance of wetlands and other natural resources in a move to breed generations that are nature friendly.

September 3, 2014

2014 World Water Week: “Most Progressive Water Utility in Africa” Receives 2014 Stockholm Industry Water Award

WaterSan Perspective and SIWI
September 03, 2014

eThekwini Water and Sanitation, serving the Durban metropolitan area in South Africa has received the Stockholm Industry Water Award at a ceremony during World Water Week, for its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation.

“I stand here today as part of a team of dedicated professionals who have worked with me over the past 22 years. It is a tremendous honour for all of us in Durban, Mr. Neil Macleod of eThekwini Water and Sanitation said on receiving the prize from SIWI chairman Mr. Peter Forssman.

In his acceptance speech, Neil Macleod underlined the role policy has had in the success of eThekwini Water and Sanitation. “If the politicians had not dared to take bold decisions, we would not have been able to do what we did. You need an enabling environment,” he said.

Mr. Neil Macleod of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (Right) receiving the prize from SIWI chairman Mr. Peter Forssman.

Mr. Neil Macleod of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (Right) receiving the prize from SIWI chairman Mr. Peter Forssman.

South Africa’s constitution from 1996, praised as a model for inclusion of social rights, enshrined the human right to water. Local government was tasked with putting it into practice. Soon after, Durban, one of the country’s main urban centres, expanded its administrative boundaries to include 3.5 million people, some of them living in poorly serviced rural areas with huge water and sanitation challenges. The eThekwini municipality decided to face these challenges head-on.

“We faced huge challenges when we were formed 22 years ago in the lead-up to massive political changes in South Africa. But necessity is the mother of invention,” said Neil Macleod.

“eThekwini has championed the approach to provide sufficient water to sustain human life, as expressed in the South African constitution, now embedded in national policy. The methods used and results achieved by eThekwini Water and Sanitation serve as a sterling example for the many communities worldwide facing similar challenges,” stated the Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA) jury in its citation.

In the past 14 years, 1.3 million additional people in greater Durban have been connected to piped water and 700,000 people have been provided with access to toilets. Access to basic water supply and sanitation is provided at no cost to poor families, while higher levels of service and consumption are charged at full cost, thus respecting the constitutional right to water while maintaining financial sustainability.

In addition to successfully providing basic services to a large and diverse population, eThekwini Water and Sanitation is at the forefront of exploring technical and social solutions. One example is a mini hydro-power project: instead of using pressure reducing valves in pipes running down steep hillsides, the company is installing mini turbines using the excess pressure to generate electricity for the city’s low tension grid. The eThekwini municipality is also pioneering solutions to convert urban wastewater challenges to agricultural opportunities as well as harvesting rainwater.

The combined result is one of the most progressive utilities in the world. The open approach to experimenting and piloting new solutions across both technical and social aspects of service delivery has made eThekwini a forerunner in the world of utility-run services.

eThekwini Municipality Logo

eThekwini Municipality Logo

Water and Sanitation unit of eThekwini Municipalitywas established in 1992. It manages the water and sanitation services for the 3.5 million people living in the Durban area, and has worked with some of the world’s major actors and knowledge hubs in water and sanitation as well as development, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Borda, Eawag, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership and DHI. Its methods have been replicated across the country and region, and eThekwini representatives are successfully sharing and disseminating their findings and working methods.

SIWA – recognizing water excellence in the business world

The Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA) was established in 2000 to stimulate and celebrate outstanding and transformative water achievements by companies in improving production, managing risks, finding solutions and contributing to wise water management. The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) were partners in establishing the award, which is also supported by International Water Association (IWA) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

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