Mon. Jul 22nd, 2019

WSSA and Outa mapped the way for SA’s first independent water regulator

independent water regulatorThe recent drought in Cape Town was a timely reminder to South Africans of how often we take access to clean water for granted in our daily lives.

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If you spent any amount of time in Cape Town during the worst of the water crisis you’d realise what it’s like to be almost always aware of water, or the lack thereof, while trying to get through a typical day.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), recently made its in-depth position paper available.

The document, which was drafted with Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA), looks at mechanisms to combat future water shortages and ensure that the country’s ability to provide water grows to support communities as well as the economy.

The position paper highlights how scarce and limited South Africa’s water resources are. It was estimated that in 2015 there were only 1200 kilolitres of fresh water available per person per annum the majority of which were already allocated.

South Africa’s population has increased since 2015 without the supply of water increasing along with it. It stands to reason that there needs to be a concerted effort by the government to grow the water supply and mitigate against disasters – such as Western Cape’s water crisis – as best as possible.

In addition to supply problems, there is also a need to manage the ongoing quality of the water supply.

“There is ongoing pollution of water resources by effluent discharged from malfunctioning municipal wastewater treatment works, and there have been problems with drinking water quality in a number of towns”.

OUTA believes that its position paper highlights the need for an independent water regulator. OUTA and other organisations who are pushing for a water regulator have already begun consultation with stakeholders in order to make satisfactory representations by the time they are ready to approach parliament.

“The position paper will form the basis of our engagements with stakeholders in the water sector, which includes the Department of Water and Sanitation,” says Benoit Le Roy, Water Shortage SA CEO.

OUTA is adamant that they are not advocating for moving water into the private sector. OUTA’s water and environment portfolio manager, Yamkela Ntola, said:

“It is important to note that neither OUTA nor Water Shortage SA are campaigning for denationalisation or privatisation of South Africa’s water sector, and that in no way will the organisations prescribe the functions of the envisioned regular, as we believe those functions should be developed following extensive engagements with stakeholders, which OUTA and Water Shortage SA are in the process of undertaking.”

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