South Africa: Collaboration Is Key to Moving SA Towards a Water Secure Future

Collaboration is critical in moving South Africa towards a more water secure future that in all essence, is the pursuit towards the fundamental preservation of life.

This was the sentiments echoed by leading scientists who attended the Climate Change and Water Sector Consultation workshop, held in Pretoria, on Friday.

The Department of Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) assembled captains of industry, leading minds and various stakeholders in a hybrid Climate Change and Water Sector Consultation workshop.

The session was aimed at fostering meaningful discussions and collaborative efforts towards sustainable development and climate security in the water sector.

Inputs solicited from the consultation will be incorporated into the revised draft Climate Change Strategy, which will be followed by intense consultation with various stakeholders across the country to solicit more inputs to pave the way for a development of a strategy that will ensure a climate resilient South Africa.

Spearheaded by Specialist Scientist – Directorate Climate Change Analysis at the Department of Water and Sanitation, Dr Gabriel Lekalakala, the consultation delved into two key areas, including water in National Determined Contributions (NDC) to place water at the heart of development pathways, and drafting the Climate Change Status Quo and National Response Strategy.

At the workshop, speakers echoed each other’s sentiments that the drive for water security calls for a collaborative response from government, civil society organisations, experts, and the private sector.

The speakers agreed that a shared global challenge and combined efforts are essential to ensure sustainable water management, improve access, and innovate resilient solutions.

According to the scientists, this tripartite alliance can drive impactful policies, fund crucial initiatives, and implement effective strategies to secure the world’s water future.

Draft National Climate Change Response Strategy

Lekalakala said the water and sanitation sector is faced with a wide range of challenges that are further exacerbated by climate change and has severe impact on water security.

He said the development of response plans such as the draft National Climate Change Response Strategy for water and sanitation sector, together with collaborative and coordinated responses from the sector, can contribute towards reducing the potential impacts.

“The strategy is a blueprint for the sector to use in response to climate change related impacts and requires all hands on deck. Hence, the consultation is to afford the sector players to contribute towards its robustness and all take ownership of it.

“There will be more consultation processes making use of all available platforms in the coming weeks. Its implementation process will involve awareness drives of the strategy to wider uptake. We encourage all stakeholder to take part in all these processes,” Lekalakala said.

Inclusion

Director of Water, Growth and Inclusion at IWMI, Dr Inga Jacobs-Mata, who led the discussions on Climate Change Response Strategy for water and sanitation sector, as well as developing the NDC Capacity Scorecard, emphasised that achieving water inclusion is not just a necessity, but an “imperative that requires all of us.”

“This collaboration is vital to address water scarcity, improve water quality, and ensure equitable access. The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, underscore the urgency of this mission not just in South Africa, but globally.

“By prioritising water inclusion, we not only contribute to SDG 6 but also lay the foundation for achieving interconnected goals such as eradicating poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, and fostering sustainable communities. The journey to water security is inseparable from the broader pursuit of a sustainable and equitable future for all,” Dr Jacobs-Mata said.