Is water the next Eskom?

By Daily Maverick Legacy 29 September 2009

A growing consensus appears to be that SA is facing a real water crisis which could postpone or at least complicate the construction of everything from power stations to new mines. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe recently told the National Council of Provinces, “If we don't [address the crisis], we're going to have big problems. Our landscape is semi-desert and water is a scarce commodity. Our next crisis will stem from this." Mothlanthe’s attitude is an about-face following the castigation of Anthony Turton, a former researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research who lost his job as a result of controversial research pointing to a looming water crisis. The story has been now been picked up by local and international publications, including Business Day which cited a new study compiled by the Water Research Commission claiming SA has 4% less water than previously believed. News24 quotes Cannon Asset Managers' Adrian Saville, "I can't even begin to tell you how extensive the costs would be, but it could be a material threat to businesses and consumers alike." News24 also spoke to a company exposed to the sector, construction and geo-technical group Esorfranki's pipelines division whose MD Andrew Toy said, "We believe a water crisis is looming, if it is not already with us".


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