YONELA DIKO: EC crisis: municipal management needs water efficiency KPIs

OPINIONSouth Africa is a water scarce country, and with an ever-rising population, developmental demands and concentration of population in urban areas, there is an ever-growing pressure on water resources requiring a robust water demand management system.Water demand, whether by a household, industry or agriculture, is generally inelastic. This means changes in price of water or income of consumers does not change their demand for water, at least to a great degree. The level at which water demand responds to price or income happens very slowly and the change itself is very minimal.Given this inelasticity of water demand, water management and the control of consumption becomes almost entirely the responsibility of government. In South Africa, the provisioning of water is a core responsibility of local governments. Water management therefore requires a strong and capable local government to ensure that proper controls, distribution and saving of water is adhered to without compromising development and livelihoods. It is the responsibility of local government to ensure the water demands are met and that water resources are preserved.As with other fundamental problems in our country, at the core of them is a weak and dysfunctional local
government. The lack of capable local government has resulted in failing service delivery of water services to many residents of municipalities, causing political unrest and environmental degradation. The issue of institutional capacity and human capital in local government institutions has implications on the entire government’s ability to deliver safe and secure water resources to residents.
There are four critical areas that ensure a municipality is able to sufficiently and consistently provide water and sanitation to its residents. Infrastructure delivery and its maintenance, financial health, and technical capacity are the criteria that the municipal infrastructure support agent (MISA) – an agent mandated in terms of the operational notice issued by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister in July 2013 – to render technical advice and support to municipalities, which was used in their assessment of Eastern Cape water services authorities in August 2020.Source: EWN

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