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Water source partnerships critical for South Africa’s future water security

  • Water source partnerships critical for South Africa’s future water security
  • There are still 3 million South Africans without access to treated drinking water within 200m of their house, and 14 million without decent sanitation.

About the entity

WWF
The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally.

Government alone cannot address the challenges of South Africa’s current water crisis.

This is the message from WWF during National Water Week (18 to 22 March) which culminates on Friday with World Water Day under the UN-theme of “Leaving no-one behind”.  

Under its freshwater programme, WWF-SA is mobilising Water Source Partnerships to bring together communities, corporations, government, and non-profit organisations to tackle the water challenges facing South Africa.

South Africa is a naturally water scarce country, with only 490mm annual rainfall on average which is less than half the global average

There are still 3 million South Africans without access to treated drinking water within 200m of their house, and 14 million without decent sanitation. This results in a burden on women and children in particular, as they have to carry water for long distances to use at home, and increases the risk of disease without safe sanitation. Young girls and women are paying the heaviest price in terms of lost opportunities to health and wealth as a result of a lack of these services.

South Africa is a naturally water scarce country, with only 490mm annual rainfall on average which is less than half the global average. Our rainfall is also concentrated in water source areas, the high mountains that form the headwaters for our major river systems. 

Yet, each year we are losing the equivalent of three Theewaterskloof dams filled to capacity to alien invasive vegetation. These plants not only suck up precious freshwater but also destroy the natural systems that keep our rivers healthy. 

Other threats to our water security include failing engineered infrastructure, inadequate waste water treatment, poorly managed mining, forestry and agricultural activities. In addition drought and climate uncertainty have already seen many South African towns and cities face severe water stress, which is being exacerbated by power cuts.

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