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As South Africa faces a water crisis, and the Western Cape bears the brunt of the drought in a country that is already water-scarce, experts are asking what led to this situation and which lessons can be implemented going forward?

Award -winning scientist Dr Anthony Turton, who is set to speak at this year’s Sustainability Week 2018 Water Seminar, says a mental paradigm shift from scarcity to abundance is needed for the country to meet its collective challenge of growing the economy in a capital and water constrained environment.

Benoît le Roy, CEO of Water Shortage South Africa, another renowned speaker on the Sustainability Week 2018 agenda, agrees: “The Paradigm of Scarcity is based on the concept of water as a stock and cost problem to be avoided or minimized,” says Le Roy.

“The Paradigm of Abundance, on the other hand, is based on the known chemistry and physics of water as a flux that moves in time and space. Water in this view is an infinitely renewable resource, so the only constraint is our institutional capacity to attract capital and technology.”

Reaching abundance

Le Roy explains that South Africa needs to implement the following to reach abundance:

  • a coherent National Water Strategy;
  • a clear policy with respect to the strategy implementation;
  • an effective water regulator;
  • and finally, a decentralised water service landscape that a smart, adaptive, responsible approach to water stewardship in which the private sector takes the lead.

The implications of these actions are far-reaching. How ready is South Africa to take advantage of the opportunities? Don’t miss these experts, including Dr Turton and Le Roy, who will be lighting the way forward at the Sustainability Week 2018 Water Seminar on Thursday, 07 June 2018 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Tshwane.

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