The detailed report on the South African Water sector examines current conditions, achievements and developments as well as factors that influence the success of the sector. Profiles for 40 entities are provided. These include municipal Water Boards countrywide and companies such as Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (Pty) Ltd whose clients include metropolitan, district and local municipalities, national and provincial government departments, water boards and mines. Also profiled are companies such as DD Science CC, an independent commercial laboratory that undertakes water analysis, and SGS South Africa (Pty) Ltd which is involved in wastewater treatment.
The Collection, Purification, Testing and Distribution of Water
The South African water sector, which employed approximately 11,600 people in 2016, is divided into two sub-sectors, water resources and water services. The water resource sector includes the development and management of water infrastructure, including dams and rivers, and the process of water abstraction, including collection and bulk piping, to supply water service providers. The water services sector meanwhile involves the treatment and supply of water to users and includes sanitation services. Municipal sales of water totalled some R30bn in 2016 while sanitation service charges amounted to R11.8bn.
Successes and Challenges
The water sector has met with some success in the continued roll-out of basic water and sanitation services to South Africa’s population of 55.2 million. Some 88.8% of the country’s 16.6 million households have access to piped or tap water, either in their premises or nearby, while 80.9% of households have access to improved sanitation in the form of a flush toilet, septic tank or ventilated pit latrine. However, dilapidated infrastructure and widespread non-payment continue to present problems. The quality of wastewater treatment has shown a marked decrease over the last year and many industry analysts suggest that South African water sector is on the verge of an infrastructural crisis exacerbated by institutional ineffectiveness and under-investment.