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Ss20 What’s In A Word? Reflections On The Struggle For Sustainable Stewardship Of Water Resources In South Africa Since Democracy In 1994

World Water Congress 2015 Edinburgh Scotland
Special session 20: Strengthening Transboundary Water Security Adaptive Management To Reduce Climate Change Vulnerability
Author(s): Dr John Colvin
Dr John Colvin
Emerald Network Ltd and Oxford University


South Africa – a water scarce country
  • South Africa is the 30th driest country in the world – due to low and variable annual rainfall plus high natural evaporation levels.
  • Average annual rainfall in South Africa is only 495 mm; some regions receive less than 100 mm of rain in a year on average.
  • 98% of the water in the country is considered “fully allocated”.
  • 60% of ecosystem types are threatened and 25% of those are critically endangered.
  • Low and unpredictable supply, coupled with high (and growing) demand and poor use of existing water resources, make South Africa a water- constrained country.
How to implement South Africa’s progressive National Water Resources Strategy?
11 years of systemic action research in South Africa
Some successes?
But ‘policy mainstreaming’ didn’t happen - and many aspects of the challenge remain – and some have got worse…
But many aspects of the challenge remain
The challenges are systemic…
An emerging set of ‘innovation hubs’ and networks across South Africa taking a ‘new paradigm’ approach
What’s in a word?
The International Water Security Network is funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charitable foundation helping to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. For more information, see: www.lrfoundation.org.uk


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