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Water: A Critical Commodity

  • 16 May 2019
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Theo Vorster of Galileo Capital anchored the session, which included the panellists Francois Strydom, Group CEO of Senwes; Fred Platt, CEO of the Accentuate Group of Companies; Benoit le Roy, CEO of Water Shortage South Africa; and Mike Sutcliffe, Director of City Insight.

Francois got the discussion underway by stating that not everyone understands water in the same way, which he proceeded to explain.

Later in the discussion, Benoit corroborated Francois’ point by saying that the usage of water in agriculture compared to its weighting of contribution to the GDP was incorrect as well. His explanation of this fact had the audience listening intently.

Mike grabbed everyone’s attention by saying that over the next 12 years South Africa would be in a water deficit of 3 500 million cubic waters annually.

Francois went on to note that South Africans have tended to stumble from one crisis to another and that the next big crises would be access to water in the way we have experience electricity shortages. 

Fred reminded the panel and audience that just like in the case of Eskom, issues of payment and non-payment and bad management also play a role in the water challenges. He said one of the solutions was that there needed to be a fundamental change in the recycling of effluent and sewage.

Benoit added that best practice examples of managing unaccounted for water, like leakages could be measured against Tokyo’s percentage of 2,5%. The bad news is that major South African cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg were operating at between 35% and 45%.

From an agriculture perspective, the industry - which uses about 60% of the water in South Africa - Francois said farmers needed to be informed and incentivised to use water in a regenerative and sustainable way. He went on to give an example of how farmers would utilise marsh lands in a sustainable way if they were incentivised, instead of draining the marsh and grazing over it.

However, the situation is not all doom and gloom and there are several interesting solutions available to manage and sustain South Africa’s water challenges.
To find out more about how we could achieve this, go to www.nationinconversation.co.za.

Follow the conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTHtAgRdh_Q  
   
Please contact newsroom@brepublic.co.za for any high-resolution picture requests and we will do our best with the limited internet capacity from NAMPO 2019.






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