Freshwater | WWF South Africa



Water scarcity is a global challenge, with southern Africa being the hardest hit. South Africa is especially water stressed – ranked the 30th driest country in the world.
With annual rainfall levels about half the world average, South Africa also experiences unevenly distributed rainfall in our landscapes and we have a highly variable climate where droughts and floods are common.

Water availability is one of the most decisive factors that will affect the economic, social and environmental well-being of South Africa over the next decade, with huge economic development pressures and social upliftment challenges. Half of our river flow is supplied by a mere 8% of the land area of South Africa – this small area of land forms our vital water source areas. And yet only 16% of this land is formally protected! Our current growth and development requires a new way of planning to protect these precious natural assets to ensure that future generations inherit healthy landscapes and a water secure future for all. 

WWF is also involved in driving water stewardship initiatives with both communities and corporations, identifying water risks and ensuring healthy water-supplying landscapes such as wetlands, as well as enabling water balance through the clearing of water-thirsty alien vegetation and restoring our river systems.

We must realise that water does not come from a dam, pipe or tap – and that water supply issues cannot be solved by building more dams or creating more infrastructure. It requires rehabilitating, maintaining and conserving the natural areas which form the critical catchments and ‘water factories’ for our country. 

Water: Facts and Futures