However, South Africa is a water-scarce country and our development has always been constrained by our ability to overcome the difficulties of ensuring that water supplies are always readily available.
The last decade has been focused on supplying more South African households with safe, reliable drinking water by bringing taps to homes and settlements that were previously marginalised. But on this mission to dam and deliver water, we have lost sight of where our water comes from, and the critical role nature plays in ensuring water for all.
Although engineered infrastructure is critical in the water supply chain, it cannot deliver if we do not take care of our ecological infrastructure - the catchments, rivers and aquifers - that feed our dams and water schemes.
Eight percent of the land area of South Africa generates more than half of our river flow. This 8% forms South Africa’s water source areas. Our current growth and development requires a new way of planning to protect these precious natural assets and ensure that future generations inherit a healthy landscape that can provide them with water security. Strategic planning is needed when developing these areas to protect their ability to deliver water.
WWF’s vision is to inspire people to live in harmony with nature. We need to plan and build our future economic growth in harmony with our water source areas. Through this work, South Africans can develop a better understanding and appreciation of our country’s water challenges, and our different roles in ensuring a water-secure future for all.
WWF is involved in water stewardship with communities and corporations, identifying water risks and in ensuring healthy resilient landscapes in our Mondi Wetlands Programme and Water Balance Programme.