Partnership between the private, public and civil society organisations is key towards bringing local and international investors to invest in water infrastructure development, says Water and Sanitation deputy minister Dikeledi Magadzi.

The deputy minister was giving the keynote address today at the seventh Annual Water Stewardship event, under the theme ‘Water Stewardship in Action: A journey to economic recovery’.

“Access to running water is still a pipe dream to most communities”

Magadzi says this year’s theme came at the appropriate time as the entire world is still reeling from the ripple effects of Covid-19. She says the pandemic has exposed the fact that access to running water is still a pipe dream to most communities, especially the far-flung rural and highly densified ones.

“This pandemic has taught all of us the importance of access to safe and reliable water, and the responsibility we have as private, public and civil society organizations, to learn from our experience over the past nineteen months to innovate and build stronger systems to ensure access to water for all our people”, the deputy minister said.

She added that collaborations will bring investments into the country which will in turn ensure water security and importantly support small, medium and micro enterprises, enabling economic growth. The deputy minister, however, acknowledged that investments alone will not solve all the water and sanitation challenges in South Africa.

“We require strong water governance that could stand the test of time. We require strong systems and institutions to drive effective water resources management and expand access to water and sanitation services. We require good water governance that would allow sustainable good quality water supply that, in turn, would give us an upper hand in case of any future pandemic,” she said.

The deputy minister further called on farmers to exercise responsible water use as the sector is the largest user of surface and underground water. Magadzi has called upon all corporates that are still not members of the Strategic Water Partners Network to sign up and play their part on the sustainable and responsible use of our precious resource.

“To those that are members of the platform, let us do more for the SWPN by pledging more financial, human and technical support to keep the fire burning. I also appeal to civil society organisations, different communities and other stakeholders to play their part in understanding the economic and social value of water, including linkages with sustainability and economic security,” she said.

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