Parched prospects: The emerging water crisis in South Africa

South Africa is facing a potential water crisis. This paper proposes aggressive measures to close the increasing gap between demand and supply.

South Africa is over-exploiting its freshwater resources and water could be a large constraint on the implementation of the National Development Plan. Using the International Futures forecasting system, this paper models and forecasts water demand and supply until 2035, the period covered by the National Water Resource Strategy 2013. The authors’ research finds that the gap between demand and supply increases and that the solutions proposed by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation will not close the gap without additional, aggressive measures. The authors propose such measures for each sector of demand and each source of water supply.

About the authors

Steve Hedden has been a consultant for the Institute for Security Studies since March 2014 and a research assistant at the Pardee Center for International Futures since December 2012. He is currently finishing his master’s degree in international development at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in Denver, Colorado.

Jakkie Cilliers is the executive director of the Institute for Security Studies. He is an extraordinary professor in the Centre of Human Rights and the Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. He also serves on the International Advisory Board of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland and as a member of the board of advisers of the Center on International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University, New York.

Development partners
This paper was made possible with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The Institute for Security Studies is grateful for support from the members of the institute’s Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the US.
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