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By Liam Ngobeni

Freelance journalist

Outa calls for SA water regulator

Outa and Water Shortage SA are working together to provide solutions for an efficient water sector.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA) have called for the establishment of a regulator independent of the department of water and sanitation to protect the integrity of this precious resource, reports Centurion Rekord.

The two organisations told a media briefing of the National Press Club that the key drivers for the initiative were to:

• Permanently address the department’s failures in regulating South Africa’s water sector;

• Ensure there was no political interference in how water was regulated; and

• Unlock and facilitate investment in South Africa’s water sector to ensure sustainable economic and socio-economic development.

ALSO READ: Outa demands investigation into Magalies water board

The organisations identified, among other things, the following lapses in water regulation that highlighted the need for a regulator:

• Blue and green drop reports have not been published since 2014;

• The Vaal River was seriously polluted by untreated sewage discharge;

• Water pricing in municipalities was not regulated resulting in under-recoveries and compromised services;

• Agriculture was not able to access the required volumes and quality of irrigation water during normal seasons and drought; and

• Municipalities lost 37% of their water through leakages.

Over the next two years, the two organisations would engage all interested and affected stakeholders across the country to gather and consolidate their inputs to present before the appropriate state institutions.

“This will include, but will not be limited to, the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and the food and beverage industries.

“The establishment of an independent water regulator – like the national energy regulator for South Africa (Nersa) in the energy sector – is long overdue.

“As civil society organisations, Outa and WSSA, together with business, look forward to providing solutions that will result in an effective and efficient water sector.”

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