Water dept boosts partnerships to speed up services

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has maintained its commitment to foster public-private partnerships in order to develop mega water and sanitation infrastructure projects in the country.

Addressing a virtual Portfolio Committee meeting on Tuesday, Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, reiterated his commitment to ensuring effective implementation of public-private partnerships as a way to enhance and improve on the delivery of water and sanitation services in different parts of the country.

Mchunu reported that the department has partnered with mining houses in Limpopo and the Northern Cape to implement mega infrastructure projects.

The projects include, amongst others, the recently launched R24 billion Olifants Management Model (OMM) in Limpopo, which involves the construction of a bulk pipeline from De Hoop Dam to Olifantspoort, and from Flag Boshielo Dam to Mokgalakwena.

The OMM also includes water distribution infrastructure to 94 villages adjacent to the pipelines, which currently do not have access to consistent water supply.

Mchunu said an agreement has been signed between the department and the Labalelo Water Users' Association (LWUA), which stipulates that each party will fund 50% of the project, with LWUA as the implementing agent.

“We are also negotiating with mining houses in the Northern Cape to implement a similar joint project to refurbish and expand the Vaal Gamagara Water Scheme, which will include distribution of water to communities.  The scheme is expected to cost R10 billion and as such, an agreement is currently being finalised,” Mchunu explained.

To expand partnerships with other sectors, Mchunu said the department is considering similar partnerships in the agricultural sector for the Vaalharts and Oranje Riet irrigation schemes.

“The partnership with the agricultural sector aims to invest in the refurbishment and upgrades of strategic canal systems to sustain food production in the country.”

Establishment of water partnership office

Meanwhile, the Minister announced that a Water Partnership Office, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), has been established to support municipalities to enter into public-private partnerships for water services.

“The Water Partnership Office serves as a special purpose vehicle to facilitate partnerships and manage joint accounts for specific funding for projects implemented through collaboration. The office also manages special programmes, such as water conservation and demand management (particularly reducing non-revenue water), water reuse, wastewater treatment improvement and seawater desalination, amongst others,” Mchunu said. – SAnews.gov.za