The Department of Water and Sanitation’s failure to effectively regulate South Africa’s water sector requires serious and effective intervention, and the establishment of a regulator independent from the department is a solution that both the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) and Water Shortage South Africa agree on.
Water Shortage SA have agreed to collaborate in championing for the establishment of an independent regulator in South Africa. Key drivers for the initiative are to:
Permanently address the department’s failures in regulating South Africa’s water sector;
Ensure no political interference in how water is regulated; and
Unlock and facilitate investment in South Africa’s water sector to ensure sustainable economic and socio-economic development.
The organisations have identified, among other things, the following lapses in water regulation that highlight the need for a regulator:
Blue and Green Drop Reports have not been published since 2014;
The Vaal River is seriously polluted by untreated sewage discharge;
Water pricing in municipalities is not regulated resulting in under recoveries and compromised services;
Agriculture is not able to access the required volumes and quality of irrigation water during normal seasons and drought; and
Municipalities are on average leaking 37% of their water.
The process towards this objective will have to consider competing schools of thought and interests. Part of OUTA and Water Shortage SA work will be navigating this terrain with the assistance of specialists which form part of its steering committee to be chaired by Yamkela Ntola, OUTA’s Water and Environment Portfolio Manager, and Benoît Le Roy, Chief Executive Officer of Water Shortage SA.