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The Collection, Purification, Testing and Distribution of Water
The water sector has had some success in the continued roll-out of basic water and sanitation services, although dilapidated infrastructure and widespread non-payment continue to present problems. The quality of wastewater treatment has shown a marked decrease over the last four years and industry analysts suggest that the water sector is on the verge of an infrastructural crisis exacerbated by institutional ineffectiveness and under-investment. The outbreak of coronavirus and lockdown put the dire water and sanitation provision situation in townships and informal settlements under the spotlight once again.
Corruption and Non-Payment
Department of Water and Sanitation investigations revealed corruption and irregular expenditure leading to forensic investigations. Allegations are being investigated by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and criminal charges have been laid in some cases. One of the biggest challenges facing water services providers is municipalities that do not pay their accounts. In some cases, they are years in arrears.
Leaks and Poor Quality
Water losses through leaks, theft or metering inaccuracies, which result in revenue losses, are a growing problem due to a lack of investment in the maintenance of infrastructure. Approximately 41% of municipal water does not generate revenue. Water quality remains a challenge, with tests showing four out of 206 towns not meeting drinking quality standards and 65 of 124 not meeting sewage standards.
This report focuses on the South African water sector and covers the collection, distribution and purification of water to household, industrial, commercial and other users. It includes information on the size and state of the sector and pertinent information on infrastructure development, corporate actions, regulation and issues of corruption, non-payment and leaks. There are 41 profiles that include municipalities, research institutions, and major water utilities and water boards such as Umgeni Water, Rand Water and the Amatola Water Board.