The discussion and engagement around the current water crisis facing the Western Cape and other major regions in South Africa, continues to gain momentum. However, it has become clear that there may be a part of the conversation that has not yet taken pride of place on the agenda – the discussion on how we will nurture, harness and incubate any innovations and new technologies that may find their way into this space.
The Western Cape finds itself in a terrifying crisis. And yet another word that forms part of the debate is the word ‘opportunity’. The opportunity to develop new innovations, to engage new ideas and to support the businesses that will take the solutions to market.
The City has done a Request for Information (RFI), calling on suppliers for new ideas, technologies and ideas that will help reduce the impact of the crisis, to amalgamate new water sources, and to help the City move to becoming a water-sensitive region. Great idea. Where the wheels fall off is that these ideas will not fully come to fruition if they have to be sent through the City’s procurement process.
The private sector can work with other shareholders, however, to create a real competitive advantage for the region. An opportunity to create a hub of solutions and thought leadership around what is being learnt, as well as the upstream and downstream business solutions, services and products that can be exported to the rest of the globe – as regions in other parts of the world start to see the effects of climate change and global warming.
South Africa has most times stood in line and just followed new trends and developments, but this crisis has given us a chance to lead and to differentiate ourselves. Let’s push for a catchment of the ideas, a place to nurture the technologies and create great go-to-market strategies.
Other parts of the world, experiencing drought and water shortage, have all sought solutions and have consumed most of their time on processes and the technical aspects of the solution which they are now exporting.
Can we find a way to drive the discussion with a strong focus on business development and growth?
I think we should, and we must.
Viola Manuel is Stakeholder Relations Executive, The Cape Messenger