Water, sanitation prerequisites for economic growth

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Water, sanitation prerequisites for economic growth
Water, sanitation prerequisites for economic growth

Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete says the development, allocation and protection of water are essential prerequisites for inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication and the reduction of inequality in South Africa.

The Deputy Minister was addressing the Water and Sanitation Master Plan Dialogue in Pretoria on Friday. The dialogue was South Africa’s first National Water and Sanitation Dialogue on the Master Plan, and was held in partnership with Netherlands and all water sector partners.

The aim of the dialogue was to table an informed plan for the sustainable provision of water for social benefit and economic development in South Africa.

She said the problem was particularly pronounced in smaller municipalities, while bigger and well-resourced municipalities are doing better.

The Deputy Minister said pressure for additional water is being brought about by population increase due to natural growth, migration and rising standards of living, and the need for economic growth.

She also said municipal service delivery problems such as non-payment of services, lack of technical personnel, lessons learnt from the recent drought conditions, and inadequate disaster management plans are the main reasons affecting the provision of increased capacity of South Africa’s current infrastructure.

The Deputy Minister said the department is required to deliver water as a social and human right, water for economic development sectors such as Mining, Agriculture for food security, Energy and Manufacturing and other Industrial operations to inject and grow the country’s economy.

“South Africa is a relatively water scarce and dry country. The most important source of surface and groundwater is rainfall, the prevailing variable occurrence of which nature dictates including its uneven distribution.

“This means that considerable technical intervention is required to store water where it is available and distribute to where it is needed. The available water is already intensively utilised and its availability is becoming more and more complex and costly,” she said.

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