This report focuses on the South African water sector and covers the collection, distribution and purification of water to household, agricultural, industrial, commercial and other users. Water testing laboratories are also covered. It includes comprehensive information on the size and state of the sector, budgets, infrastructure development and plans, trends, regulation and other influencing factors. There are profiles of 44 companies and organisations including the major relevant municipalities and water boards, water treatment specialists such as Africa Water Projects and Construction, testing laboratories including DD Science and Waterlab and wastewater treatment companies such as Royal Haskoning.
The Collection, Purification, Testing, and Distribution of Water in South Africa
South Africa has moved from a water-stressed country to a water-scarce one, facing challenges that include extreme drought and flooding due to climate change, poor and failing infrastructure, inadequate technical capacity, corruption and mismanagement and unacceptably low levels of service delivery. The quality of rivers and ground water remains poor, signalling weaknesses in water resource management. The pandemic has highlighted the need for universal access to water and sanitation. Three million people in South Africa do not have access to basic water supply and 14.1 million do not have access to safe sanitation.
In addition to households, water is used by the industrial, mining and agriculture sectors, including power generation. According to the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, agriculture uses the most water in South Africa and pays the lowest tariff. Municipal water users include commercial, business and industrial users and schools, hospitals, sports and recreation facilities, parks and government institutions.
The Department of Water and Sanitation estimates the water infrastructure investment deficit to be R33bn per annum. Water supply is affected by ageing water infrastructure, lack of maintenance, delays in water projects, water losses, funding for infrastructure, vandalism of infrastructure, pressure on infrastructure, sewage spillages and mismanagement. Current water usage already exceeds the reliable yield of water infrastructure, and demand is set to increase with population growth and an increasing urban population.