Swiss South Africa Water Research and Innovation SSAWRI
Water security is now widely recognised as a strategic issue which will place limits upon South Africa’s possible economic and developmental futures. Although a country with a large surface area and reasonable average rainfall, the amount of available water is small due to the extremely high average evaporation. In combination with a rapid growth in population and increase in industrial water usage, South Africa is becoming a country of water stress (AEON, 2010). Besides water quantity, the second major challenge includes water quality. It was understood that due to a broad range of reasons, wastewater treatment plants are often not functioning properly. Furthermore, some regulations may not be strict enough yet (e.g. Phosphate ban) or may be not fully implemented and enforced. This leads to eutrophication of lakes and compromised downstream river water quality. In the third place, the groundwater situation is precarious, both with respect to quantity and with respect to quantity. In some places groundwater tables are decreasing, due to unsustainable groundwater harvesting (e.g., agriculture). In other places, groundwater tables are rising due to increased infiltration and stopped mining activities. Also the groundwater quality problems are very diverse: they range from the acid groundwater in mining areas to problems with groundwater depletion in intensively irrigation. In order to gain deeper insight in to the water issue in South Africa and identify potential areas of collaboration between Switzerland and the host country, a five day fact finding mission was organized. This report focuses on the results of a fact finding mission. It describes the possible projects arising from such mission; projects which are aimed at stimulating cooperation between Switzerland and South Africa on issues related to the improvement of security and management of water resources in South Africa. The subject areas of the projects are strongly aligned with South African priorities such as: drinking water issues in rural settings; mitigation of eutrophication of water reservoirs; capacity building and capacity retention; improvement of water quality by source pollutant control; prevention of acid mine drainage and sustainable use of deserted mines. The proposed project on drinking water could provide an important contribution in reaching the Millenium Development Goals with regard to providing access to safe drinking water to all. In order to initiate such a collaborative program, a project outline is proposed which includes Swiss seed money, which will be used to define projects in more detail, identify partners and identify complementary R&D resources from South Africa agencies Show more
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Organisational unit03832 - Morgenroth, Eberhard
NotesAlso published by: Swiss Embassy, South Africa.
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