Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has called on the private sector to invest in the country’s water industry to help address some of the challenges currently being experienced in this space.

Speaking at the Water Infrastructure Investment Summit (WIIS) held on Tuesday at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the minister said her department aims to empower the current water and sanitation policy environment, with a new partnership between the public sector, private sector and civil society to build a strong, powerful and effective “Team Water SA”.

She explained that government is seeking a new partnership with the business and investment sector to ensure water security in South Africa in a manner that ensures access to safe water and sanitation universally and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mokonyane said it is imperative the country thinks innovatively about new ways of making water available outside the traditional engineering solutions of supply-side infrastructure development.

“We have to refurbish the current networks, simultaneously modernising them with such interventions as real-time monitoring with distribution sensor networks converting the water and sanitation networks into intelligent systems. We need to deal with our infrastructure backlog innovatively, taking advantage of the new solutions and innovations coming out of research and development,” she noted.

Radical economic transformation

In her address, Minister Mokonyane said radical socio-economic transformation entails, among others, the introduction of new models and mechanism of working relationships that will enhance service delivery.

“This means that we have to look at new ways for an integrated water resource management. Efforts to manage, protect and preserve water as a critical resource in a sustainable manner speaks to the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders in the water sector.

“Water security and management are vital components of social and economic development in South Africa. Putting in place appropriate internal measures will enable a significant benefit in realising external opportunities to save water and use it more efficiently,” Minister Mokonyane said.

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