Water crisis: Overturn legacy projects

None of us can ignore the reality that it will never again be business as usual – as far as the availability of water in Cape Town and the region is concerned – and that we have a new normal. Should it not make sense, then, that the existing policies, tender processes, and legacy roles are really not going to help?  The Water Leapathon initiative which is now gaining momentum.

The discussion of the participants of the Water Leapathon steering committee led me to consider what the role of the three spheres of government and the private sector should be in mitigating this crisis, with a long-term view.

Although I do not know much about the internal workings of policy formulation, one of the first observations I have is that government should consider reviewing their policies about the way they engage with the private sector so that a truly enabling environment exists.

Existing policies, legacy roles and tender processes have had an unintended consequence and helped to shape the disastrous predicament in which we find ourselves.

In fact, I suspect there must be a policy vacuum – as the reflection of the new normal is not something anyone had anticipated, and therefore the policies to address it don’t really exist yet. How we fill this policy vacuum is extremely important.

I cannot shake the sense that the municipality in Cape Town still feels they need to control and manage the water supply. In actual fact, most specialists are saying that technology (new and adapted technologies) will really be the foundation of any credible long-term solution.   Yet the people who most understand how we should tackle this crisis are not being given proper influence and a greater voice at the table.

It is clear to me that we cannot leave the management of this crisis to politicians, to scientists, or to technical experts. We must ensure that many voices together start to speak a language that drives us to solutions. Investors are looking for great ideas. The capital is there. We need to move quickly, and I am convinced that the private sector must take its rightful place, and take the lead in getting us to the solutions.

Viola Manuel is CEO of the Water Leapathon.

2 Comments on "Water crisis: Overturn legacy projects"

  1. Yes! and Yes again! The so-called leaders of our country cannot be relied upon to proivide adequately. I have just learned of a company that has technology available to “harvest” rainwater from the atmosphere at varying rates for example a small sized residential unit can provide 12l of drinking water per day for as long as there is water in the air.. Right here in Cape Town..
    The question is now begged.. with the collapse in services delivery by government (Of whatever level) and the onset of more and more technologically advanced means to D.I.Y, how will this impact on the governments income? What will they actually do with that reduced demand in water and electricity for example, which will decrease the revenue received by them. Will they hike taxes more for less so they can keep bloated departments floating, or will they try to monopolize these technologies and make you pay them for it through licenses etc, or will they actually restructure the entire workings and convert the savings into upgraded and enhanced other services like education, health care, housing etc etc?.. Methinks not the latter

  2. I think we must acknowledge that the government have certain priorities when they allocate money.
    1) President Jacob Zuma
    2) Presidents money suppliers
    3) ANC executives
    4) ANC ministers
    5)ANC provincial executives
    6) ANC municipal members
    6)S.O.E’s
    7) Toll Roads
    8) DA controlled councils
    9) Water, electricity, roads
    10) Housing

    So how do the people expect to get water projects done in the Western Cape.

    This is purely my opinion by looking at how the ANC government has been operating over the last 20 years.

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