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Document Name: Strategic Overview 2013

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This document has been opened: 1 021 times to date.
Date Of Release: 29 Jan 2014
Date Of Expected Review:
Date Last Updated: 29 Jan 2014
Document Type: Strategic Perspective
Document Level: National
Department: Water & Sanitation
Contact Name: Allestair Wensley
Phone Number: 012 336 8767
Fax Number: 012 336 6609
Directorate: Water Macro Planning
Contact Name: Allestair Wensley
Phone Number: 012 336 8767
Fax Number: 012 336 6609
Topics covered:
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Strategic Overview 2013

Section Summary

  Section Number Section Heading Section Description
     01 PURPOSE To present a broad overview of the water sector in South Africa. This document has been produced by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) Proudly Prepared by: DWA Directorate: Water Services Planning & Information Version 1.8 - Printed - 29 January 2014 While the Department takes all due precaution to ensure correctness of the information, it takes no responsibility for the misinterpretation thereof.
     02 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This document was compiled from inputs from various Directorates within the Department of Water Affairs as well
as a number of sector partners.
The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) is the leader and regulator of the water sector in South Africa and has
the mandated responsibility to ensure that all people have access to sustainable water services and resources.
South Africa is a water scarce country and it is essential that all available water is used effectively, efficiently and
sustainably in order to reduce poverty, improve human health and promote economic development.
Both surface water and groundwater resources are managed to ensure a balance between usage and availability
in order to meet the country’s present and future water demands.
     04 DEMOGRAPHY South Africa’s population (2011), according to the StatsSA Census 2011, was 51.77 million people. The country is
made up of 9 Provinces; Gauteng is the most densely populated (12.3 million people) and the Northern Cape the
least (with just over a million people).
     05 KEY FINANCIAL INDICATORS South Africa’s current annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is R3672 billion, which translates tworld economy. Historically, from 1993 until 2012, South Africa’s average quarterly GDP Grreaching an historical high of 7.60% in December of 1994 and a record low of -5.90% in MaProducer Price Index (PPI) for domestic output showed an annual rate of change of +5.1% from August 2012. Approximately 25% of the workforce is unemployed.
     06 WATER GOVERNANCE & MANAGEMENT The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) leads and regulates the water sector in South Africa, develops policy and strategy, and provides support to the sector. DWA is governed by two Acts, the National Water Act (1998) and the Water Services Act (1997), and together with national strategic objectives, governance and regulatory frameworks, provides an enabling environment for effective water use and management.
     07 INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS & PARTNERSHIPS DWA operates at national, provincial and local levels across all elements of the water cycle (i.e. from water resource management, water abstraction, water processing and distribution of potable water, wastewater collection, to treatment and discharge). DWA does not execute all of these functions; some are either constitutionally assigned to appropriate sector partners. DWA owns most of the large dams and related water resource infrastructure and undertakes the necessary planning and implementation of future water resource development projects. On the other hand regional bulk water distribution is managed by Water Boards, municipalities and DWA. Waterboards and some of the larger metropolitan municipalities (Metros), also purify water to potable standards. Provisioning of Water Services (water supply and sanitation) is the constitutional responsibility of local government (Metro, Local or District Municipalities) who act as the Water Services Authorities (WSAs) and often also Water Service Providers (WSPs) for all communities in their areas of jurisdiction. Some WSAs, where wastewater management is a regional challenge, have contracted out this function to bulk water services providers, however, the responsibility still rests with them to ensure an effective service.
     08 Sector Leadership and Regulation DWA oversees and regulates the water business through appropriate policies and regulations which are implemented through its 9 provincial offices and 4 water management clusters. DWA also monitors the performance of the sector and regulates the drinking water quality and effluent quality against industry standards and recommends changes to the business environment within which the various role players have to perform. Currently DWA is revising the National Water Resource Strategy and the Strategic Framework for Water Services, and providing inputs into the National Framework for Water for Growth and Development. National water strategies are supported by regional and local plans, notably catchment management plans, provincial growth and development plans, bulk water supplier business plans, water master plans and water services development plans.
     09 WATER RESOURCES RAINFALL AND WATER AVAILABILITY South Africa is ranked as the 30th driest country in the world. The country is semi-arid with rainfall varying from less than 100 mm per annum in the West to over 1500 mm per annum in the East. Average rainfall is 450 mm per annum which is well below the world average of 860 mm per annum. Climate change predictions are for a drier Western half of the country and for far more variability, with more extreme events, to the East.
South Africa’s mean annual runoff (MAR) is about 49 billion m
/annum, however only some 10.24 billion m
of this is available at high assurance. An estimated 9.5 billion m
/annum is required to satisfy the total ecological
reserve requirement (the Reserve). Rivers, lakes, wetlands and estuaries are some of the key ecosystems requiring
protection. The Human Reserve is required to satisfy basic human needs by securing a basic water supply, for
people who are, or who will, in the reasonably near future, be: (i) relying upon; (ii)taking water from; or (iii) being
supplied from, the relevant water resource. The current basic domestic water use component (or 25 litres/ person/
day) translates to 472 million m
/annum or 11% of the total domestic water use. Many rural settlements still
have insufficient water resources to meet their basic water demands and further groundwater and surface water
resource developments are necessary.
     11 WATER MANAGEMENT AREAS The responsibility and authority for water resources management rests with Catchment Management Agencies
(CMAs) and, at a local level, Water User Associations. These institutions are representative of water users and
facilitate effective participation in the management of water resources in their areas and will ultimately enable
the DWA to withdraw from its present role of operator to that of sector leader, policymaker, regulator and
performance monitor.
There are 9 planned Water Management Areas (WMAs) that will be decentralized to CMAs, namely Limpopo,
Olifants, Inkomati-Usuthu, Pongola-Mzimkulu, Vaal, Orange, Mzimvubu-Tsitsikama, Breede-Gouritz and BergOlifants.
2 CMAs


A wide range of water resources management functions may be delegated to these CMAs, depending upon the
local priorities and capacity, including:
• Developing strategies for integrated water resources management within the WMA;
• Developing and supporting organizations in the WMA, including coordination and capacity building;
• Regulating water use, including authorization and charging of water use;
• Managing information to support the other water resources management functions;
• Implementing physical interventions, including conservation and demand management and possibly
infrastructure development and/or operation; and
• Auditing water resources management, in terms of the stated objectives of organizational business plans
and water resources management strategies.
Water Services is a non-
stop delivery process “from
source to tap” and “from
tap to source”. It requires
the natural resource (water),
processing (treatment works),
distribution infrastructure and
effective operation to deliver
the actual output (potable
water & safe sanitation) and
its ultimate outcome (healthy
people). It requires much
more than infrastructure and
is dependent on sequential
delivery along a value chain
as illustrated in the adjacent
     13 WATER SERVICES AUTHORITIES A municipality that has been accorded responsibility for ensuring access to water services is termed a Water Services Authority, (WSA). Although South Africa has 278 municipalities, (made up of 8 Metros, 44 District Municipalities and 226 Local Municipalities), not all are WSAs. There are 152 WSAs.
     14 WATER BOARDS South Africa has 12 Water Boards that supply a total bulk potable water volume of approximately 2.46 billion
/annum, (some 57% of the total domestic supply), have a total fixed asset value of R19.6 billion, (with a
replacement value of R103 billion), and a total operating cost of R10.2 billion per annum.
Water Boards supply potable water to 28 million people (just over half the country’s population), however they
have a supply footprint which could reach 39 million people, (which represents approximately 11790 communities,
including several large industries).
/annum, which at the current level
of supply is an average utilization of 79%. Some water boards have already reached their total design water
supply capacity and major capital programmes are needed to upgrade existing schemes and build new regional
bulk infrastructure.
The design capacity of their collective water treatment works is 3.1 billion m
Not all municipalities depend on Water Boards for regional bulk water supply infrastructure, but can do so as
long as they operate within the norms and standards of the Water Services Act, National Water Act and related
regulations and strategies.
Water Boards distribute raw and potable water across vast distances to multiple users (via regional water supply
schemes). This role is mandated and fully controlled by the Minister of DWA. The Water Services Act added new
responsibilities, in that Water Boards or any other water service providers must be formally appointed by the
recipient municipalities to provide such services, where required.
     15 BASIC LEVEL OF DOMESTIC WATER SUPPLY A basic household water supply is defined as 25 litres per person per day (or at least 6000 litres per household
per month) and supplied according to the following criteria:
• Minimum flow rate of not less than 10 litres per minute;
• A standpipe within 200 metres of a household;
• Interruptions of less than 48 hours (at any one time) and a cumulative interruption time during the year of
less than 15 days; and
• At a potable standard (SANS241).
In the longer term, government will strive to ensure that all households receive 50 to 60 litres per person per day
via an individual connection. Currently, high and medium levels of domestic water use about 3.8 billion m
(89% of the total urban and rural use), which translates to approximately 24% of the total water requirement.
Unfortunately South Africa’s gross average consumption is very high at 235 litres per person per day.
Recent investigation has shown that a number of schemes are no longer functional, (see 4.5). The DWA recognized
that the 2014 water services targets would thus not be met in time. Consequently an Interim/Intermediate Water
Supply Strategy has been adopted to ensure that all the people of South Africa have access to water by the end
of June 2014. This will be achieved by accelerating existing basic service delivery projects or by providing an
interim water supply solution until more sustainable and permanent water supply solutions can be implemented.
It will also include the rehabilitation and re-commissioning of non-functional schemes.
     16 NON-REVENUE WATER Non-revenue water, (NRW), the term used by the International Water Association (IWA) to represent the level
of losses/unauthorized use from an urban water supply scheme, is defined as the volume of water for which no
income is received by the water services institution. The IWA water balance has been modified for the South
African situation, (see overleaf).
It is estimated that non-revenue water in South Africa is approximately 36.8% of the water supplied, (according
to the latest Water Research Commission study). When using this value, it is important to recognize the following:
• The Free Basic Water allowance is considered to be part of the revenue water component and is charged
at a zero rate.
• Non-payment of accounts is a completely separate issue and water that is billed through the normal
accounting process is considered to be revenue water whether or not the account is ever paid.
• 36% NRW is a typical average value by world norms, but below the norm for a developing country.
• Although the NRW estimate compares well with international trends, there is definite scope for
improvement as the gross average consumption of 235 litres/person/day is much higher than the
international average of 177 litres/person/day.
• The NRW figures are highly influenced by data from the metropolitan and large city municipalities (as high
volume users) which currently represents 80% of the available data set.
• Very little quality information is currently available on rural municipalities.
• Lost revenue amounts to some R11 billion a year in the municipal sector alone, based on an assessment of
132 WSAs .
• South Africa’s President has called for a 50% reduction in municipal water losses by 2014 and this now a
key performance area for government.

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