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South Africa aims for more women in water sector

 

The conversation needed to be changed, according to Nomvula Mokonyane. The water and sanitation minister spoke at a conference in Pretoria on Monday on getting women, who were breadwinners of households, to be providers in national sectors.”How do we inform, incentivise and invest in women-owned businesses and women leaders in water and sanitation,” she asked delegates at the National Women in Water Consultative Conference, where she encouraged them to change the conversation.”How do we change the debate from one of victimisation to one of transformational leadership… We are here to create wealth and prosperity.”Mokonyane spoke of women who walked for more than an hour to fetch water for their households. “An old lady said she was raped along the way. But that will not stop her from fetching water,” she said.More than 200 million hours were spent each day around the world on fetching water. Businesspeople, Mokonyane urged, should not forget people like the women fetching water for their families.”Water is perceived to be a women’s business but the business of water lacks women.” She was planning to shape the Department of Water and Sanitation. “Women should not only fetch water for their households, but they must also be suppliers of pipes and manage reservoirs.”Mokonyane wanted women to be part of the planning, designing and implementation processes of things such as building dams or toilets.

New programme

For this reason, her department had launched the three-year national Women in Water Programme. “The programme comprises a mentorship programme, a women in water business incubator and a women in water forum. The scope of the programme covers all women-owned businesses that are competent and excellent in the provision of services to the department.”It would also focus on women in science and engineering, those in innovation, those in construction, and women in local community initiatives. Other businesses owned by women may be considered based on merit.Mokonyane said the first incubators would be made known in January 2016.

Other speakers

Female speakers addressed the conference commission sessions, during which the audience could engage with the speakers and give their input on topics like science and engineering, innovation, construction and local community initiatives.In the construction commission, Dr Thandi Ndlovu, chief executive officer of Motheo Construction Group, said the money the government pumped into infrastructure had been reduced. Despite this, she felt the concern of the country was what would happen to women.The government policy was that at least 30% of its business should go to women-headed companies. Ndlovu said it was important to have a niche for yourself. “Look for the low-hanging fruit. Dams will be built by the grade 9 contractors. Don’t expect to build a dam if it’s not your niche.”She also said the value of partnership was very important in making your business succeed.Khungeka Njobe, the chairperson of South Africa’s Technology Innovation Centre and Aveng Water, said before she had started a business, she asked herself how she could do things differently from what was on the market.She agreed that forming partnerships in business was vital. “Before partnerships, it starts with relationships. Partnerships must be complementary, not just about who you know. We got to know our strengths and skills [before entering a partnership].”She also said that investing should not be postponed. “We’ll keep on saying we do not have the skills. To understand the situation better, investment in things like research should be done.”

Source: southafrica


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Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Water

1. Ministers responsible for the Water Sector from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States met on 3rd July 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe to review progress and provide guidance on the implementation of the third phase of the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management and Development (RSAP III) 2011-2015.

2. The RSAP III is the framework for action to achieve the sustainable development of water resources in the SADC region through the development of water infrastructures on the basis of sound water governance and water management.

3. The SADC Water Minsters meeting was preceded by preparatory meetings of senior officials in the water sector and those from the Okavango River Basin Watercourse Commission (OKACOM), the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM).

4. Taking advantage of the presence of Ministers, the Ministers from the OKACOM and the ZAMCOM met on 2nd July ahead of the SADC Water Ministers meetings to clear and approve several strategic documents.

5. The meeting was officially opened by Zimbabwe’s Minister for Environment, Water and Climate, Hon. Saviour Kasukuwere who expressed gratitude to the honourable members of the SADC Ministers Responsible for Water for having accepted the invitation to attend the meeting.

6. Speaking on behalf of the SADC Secretariat, the Director of Infrastructure and Services Directorate, Mr Remigious Makumbe paid tribute to the ministers for their continued guidance to the implementation of the water programme.

7. Mr. Makumbe also paid tribute to all SADC cooperating partners and Member States, for their support to the regional water programme.

8. The Meeting was attended by the following Ministers responsible for Water and/or their representatives:

Angola: Hon. Luis Filipe da Silva, Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy and Water

Botswana: His Excellence Kenny Kapinga, High Commissioner to Zimbabwe

Lesotho: Hon. Lincoln Ralechate Mokose, Minister of Water

Mozambique: Hon. Carlos Bonete Martinho, Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources

Namibia: Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry

Swaziland: Hon. Jabulile Mashwama, Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy

South Africa: His Excellence Vusi Mavimbela the Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Tanzania: Eng. Mbogo Futakamba, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Water

Zambia: Hon. Charles Zulu, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy and Water Development

Zimbabwe: Hon. Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate

9. The Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republics of Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, and Seychelles sent apologies.

10. In attendance also, were representatives from the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW), ZAMCOM, Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASCEOM), OKACOM, Southern African Research and Documentation Centre I Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre for Southern Africa (SARDC IMERCSA), Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP-SA), and WaterNet.

11. Ministers noted that the implementation of the SADC Water programme continued to register remarkable progress despite human resource capacity challenges at the Secretariat, and urged member states to continue facilitating the implementation of programmes that were lagging.

12. Ministers noted that three out of the 15 Programmes in the RSAP III did not receive resources to facilitate their implementation. The three programmes are on water quality and environment, economic accounting for water use, and assessment of surface water resources.

13. Ministers adopted the report on the Mid-Term Evaluation on the implementation of the RSAP III and the Protocol on shared watercourses which was conducted in 2014 by independent consultants. The report highlights achievements and challenges faced in implementing the RSAP III and describes the SADC Water Programme as a unique regional programme that helped to build and instil a spirit of cooperation in transboundary water resources management and development, and facilitated discussions and engagements between riparian states at the basin level, and across the region through water weeks and Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogues.

14. Ministers reviewed and approved the draft structure and content of the fourth Phase of RSAP which is currently being developed, and directed SADC Secretariat to finalize the strategy in collaboration with the Water Resources Technical Committee (WRTC) members. The RSAP IV will run from 2016 to 2020.

15. Ministers also encouraged Member States to participate in on-going consultations on thematic topics to be included in the RSAP IV.

Consultations on issues to include in the RSAP IV have been on-going during the SADC National Water Weeks which have so far been conducted in 11 of the 15 member states. The SADC National Water Weeks are scheduled to take place during the month of July in the outstanding four member states.

16. Ministers also reviewed and approved the list of priority intervention areas for the water sector programme for the 2016/17 budgeting and planning year.

17. Ministers reviewed the status of implementation of projects in the various river Basins in the SADC Region, namely the Okavango, Limpopo, Orange-Senqu, Buzi, Save, Ruvuma, Zambezi, Kunene, Cuvelai, Incomati/Maputo and Pungwe, and commended the state parties of the basins for the progress made in implementing various projects.

18. On water projects in the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan: Ministers noted that the Secretariat continued to promote the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) and its associated Projects through various means including investor conferences. Secretariat has prepared a list of priority projects from the Master Plan which are ready for investment financing and those that still required development and packaging so that they are easily accessible when promoting them to potential financers.

19. Ministers urged Member States to continue supporting the process of promoting projects to financers by availing information to facilitate project development, packaging, financing and subsequent implementation.

20. Ministers further noted that SADC Secretariat continued to support implementation of the Lomahasha/Namaacha joint cross-border water supply project between Mozambique and Swaziland. The project aims to provide sustainable water supply and sanitation services to the communities living in the border towns of the two countries.

21. Ministers noted that the SADC Secretariat and GIZ were exploring different avenues for funding support of the Member States to undertake construction of the water supply schemes once feasibility assessment is completed for the Lomahasha/Namacha project.

22. On Joint Cross border water initiatives: Ministers noted that the SADC Secretariat in close collaboration with the Governments of DRC, Zambia and Tanzania, was conducting a study for cross-border water supply and sanitation schemes for the border towns of Kasumbalesa (DRC/Zambia) and Nakonde/Tunduma (Zambia and Tanzania). The study which is supported by the German Government in delegated cooperation with Australian and UK Governments is scheduled to complete by the end of July 2015.

23. Ministers urged the participating Member States to continue supporting the project, and to consider setting aside some funds as contribution, since some of the funding sources were likely to require a certain proportion of country contribution.

24. On Regional Water Supply and Sanitation: Ministers noted that a two-year Regional Water Supply and Sanitation project that was supported by African Water Facility of the African Development Bank (AfDB) was successfully completed in September 2014. The objectives of the project included establishment of a collaborative regional framework for effective planning and management of water supply and sanitation to enable the Member States to improve the provision of water supply and sanitation at country level.

25. On the Kunene Transboundary Water Supply and Sanitation Project: Ministers noted that implementation on the Kunene Transboundary Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which is a SADC pilot involving southern Angola and northern Namibia slowed because of new changes in the project scope and urged the two Member States and SADC Secretariat to fast-tract the project implementation in view of the time already lost and the delayed benefits to the intended communities. The project entails development and rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation infrastructure for communities and towns in the project area. Another important component of the project is to establish and build the capacity of a water utility entity in the Kunene province in Angola.

26. On the SADC Hydrological Cycle Observing Systems (HYCOS) Project: Ministers noted the substantial progress in the implementation of the SADC HYCOS Project which was being implemented in collaboration with the SADC Climate Services Centre (SADC CSC), and directed the Secretariat to facilitate the speedy implementation of the Project and secure additional financial resources to support the implementation of the fully fledged next phase of SADC-HYCOS.

27. On Sustainable Ground Water Management Project in SADC: Ministers commended the Secretariat for securing a total of USD 10.2 million comprising USD8.2 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank and USD 2.0 million from the Cooperation in International Water in Africa (CIWA) Trust Fund to implement a five-year programme which will be a follow up to the SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project that was piloted in the Limpopo basin from 2009 to 2011. The implementation of the Groundwater programme which will be hosted at the University of Free State (UFS) is scheduled to start as soon as recruitment of the Director to serve as a Project Manager is completed by the end of July 2015.

28. On Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Demonstration Projects: Ministers noted that SADC Secretariat continued to facilitate implementation of the IWRM Demonstration Projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and that implementation of the infrastructure components was already advanced in Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.

29. Ministers urged SADC Secretariat to assist the participating Member States to fast-track the implementation the projects to ensure that all activities were completed by the end of the project in September 2015, so that the communities benefit, and lessons learned be shared with other Member States in the region.

30. Ministers further noted that the SADC Secretariat was collaborating with the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) to support the SADC Water Sector in implementing infrastructure-related projects in the RSAP III and as several small-scale water supply projects in member states.

31. On Capacity Building and Training Programmes: Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for contributing to the development of technical and other skills through post-graduate programmes offered by WaterNet, a subsidiary of SADC, and short courses conducted by the Water Sector.

32. Minister noted that 30 professionals from Member States and River Basin organizations were trained in November 2014 on Negotiation Skills in Transboundary Water Management and International Water Law, in addition to several short courses conducted by WaterNet and SADC Water Sector.

33. Ministers noted that during the reporting period WaterNet received a total of 339 applications for sponsorship for the 2015/2016 intake to the WaterNet IWRM Masters Programme, and that 28 scholarships with funding from the Dutch Government were awarded to nationals from all SADC Member States except, Angola and islands States as no applications were received. At least two scholarships were granted to each Member State.

34. Ministers also noted that most of the WaterNet graduates held hold positions in water departments in the member states and urged member states to make adequate budgetary provisions in their training and capacity building programmes to support at least one candidate from own resources to participate in the WaterNet Masters on IWRM Programme.

35. Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for developing a comprehensive Strategic Human Capacity Development Plan (SHCDP) which will also be mainstreamed into the RSAP IV. The SHCDP was developed with support from the German Government in delegated cooperation with Australia and UK governments and SADC Secretariat is currently mobilising resources to roll out the plan.

36. Ministers reviewed and approved the draft SADC Water Research Agenda, and directed the Secretariat to work in close collaboration with WaterNet and Southern Africa Network of Water Centre of Excellence (SANWATCE) to facilitate its finalization and implementation.

37. On Gender Mainstreaming in the Water Sector: Ministers noted that in-line with SADC policy instruments which required all SADC water institutions to integrate the principles, goals and objectives of gender mainstreaming in their administration and implementation programmes, a two-year project on Gender Mainstreaming in Transboundary Water Management was being implemented.

38. Ministers further noted that during implementation of the project which comes to an end in August 2015, Ministries responsible for Water nominated Gender Focal Persons in their Ministries to facilitate and coordinate gender mainstreaming in the water sector.

39. Ministers encouraged Member States to provide support to the Gender Focal Persons in order to sustain the gender mainstreaming activities within the water sector.

40. On Awareness and Communication initiatives: Ministers noted the progress made in enhancing awareness and communication on water issues in SADC which included, among others, Media Awards, Media Training on Water Reporting, and Awareness Videos Productions.

41. Ministers commended SADC Secretariat for playing a major role in communicating water issues in the region and encouraged Member States to facilitate the efforts by sharing information on water issues from SADC Water meetings within their departments, ministries and with the media.

42. Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM): Ministers noted that the ZAMCOM Council of Ministers meeting on 2nd July 2015, approved to increase each riparian country’s contribution to USD100 000 by 2020.

Currently ZAMCOM Member States contribute USD25 000 each year and from 2016 they are expected to start contributing USD60 000 and thereafter increase by USD10 000 each year until they reach USD100 000.

43. Ministers further noted that the ZAMCOM Council reviewed progress on the implementation of the ZAMCOM programme and approved various institutional and governance guiding instruments including the extension for the ZAMCOM Executive Secretary for three years.

44. Ministers also noted that Botswana will be the next chair for the ZAMCOM, taking over from Angola.

45. On Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM): Ministers noted that LIMCOM did not hold any meeting during the year 2013/2014 and that a number of activities stalled due to lack of guidance, a situation that put the funding by International Cooperating Partners (ICP) at risk.

46. Ministers urged the LIMCOM States to convene and resolve all pending issues including finalising the recruitment of the Executive Secretary for LIMCOM.

47. On the Orange-Senqu River Basin: Ministers noted that the Orange-Senqu Water Commission (ORASECOM) continued to implement its programme on water in the basin with support from a number of cooperating partners organised directly by the Secretariat and through SADC and commended the ORASECOM riparian Member States and the Secretariat for their success in the implementation of the ORASECOM work programme.

48. On Kunene and Cuvelai Basins: Ministers noted that Angola and Namibia concluded and signed the process to establish the Cuvelai Commission (CUVECOM) in-line with the provisions of the regional Water Protocol on Shared Watercourses in September 2014 and SADC Secretariat was mobilising resources to support the strengthening of the Commission.

Ministers also noted that Angola and Namibia are working out modalities to establish the Kunene Basin Commission.

49. On OKACOM: Ministers noted that OKACOM was in the process of reviewing its institutional structure to accommodate the Forum of Ministers as a regular structure of the OKACOM as the apex body.

50. On the Incomati/Maputo basins: Ministers noted that the process of establishing a Secretariat for the joint Incomati/Maputo basin in Swaziland was on going and pending the approval processes by Cabinet for Swaziland as the host.

51. On Support to mainstreaming youth into the water sector: Ministers noted that youth forums were being organized as part of the SADC Water Weeks to bring together youth groups and raise awareness on water sector activities and advocate for their involvement in water resources management issues.

Source: allafrica


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African Water Sector and the ‘digitally smart’ utility

By George Hunt, global consulting partner for water, WCS, Wipro Limited; and Shailendra Singh, Country Head, South Africa, Wipro Limited

Water utilities across the world more than often tackle a similar set of challenges relating to service resilience, customer service, regulation, compliance and operational excellence. South Africa is no different and experience some of these challenges more acutely than other countries.   Fortunately, technology is available that can assist to resolved these challenges and improve operations significantly and importantly, service delivery.

When focusing on the African water sector, investments in this emerging market is booming, and as economies across the continent experience rapid growth, demand is outstripping the ability to supply. The delicate balance between supply and demand is progressively being felt in many countries, including South Africa, where limited water resources combined with massive growth in demand and an increasingly urbanised population are putting pressure on water and waste-water infrastructure.

The outcome of this has been a growing number of interruptions to water supply as much-needed upgrades to the existing water utilities infrastructure are delivered. In addition, rising cost of operations and increased consumer demand have created a highly challenging environment for water utility providers. Addressing these challenges requires a much smarter approach to using data and sophisticated analytics technologies to deliver greater insight, improved performance and enhanced efficiency – all of which are essential for aligning supply and demand.

Improving operational efficiency is one of the most crucial aspects to ensuring effective water utility service delivery, as this represents a significant cost. Predictive analytics and intelligent IT solutions can now assist utility providers to reduce costs by enabling them to forecast demand, or by understanding asset condition and criticality in a manner that would enable them to address potential supply or service interruptions before they become crisis. Accurate assessment of asset risk also allows for proactive or predictive maintenance of the infrastructure, which in turn reduces the need for emergency works, and thereby reduce the spending on contracted and hired services.

Another important aspect to improving service delivery is ensuring environmentally sustainable operations and reducing the environmental impact of adverse incidents, if any.  This is essential not only from a corporate responsibility perspective but also for ensuring improved customer service. Water leakage is one of the key areas that needs to be addressed, as it impacts both carbon footprint and efficiency. Using analytics solutions, subtle changes such as water pressure reduction can be monitored over time, which can help alert providers about potential water leaks. This enables them to be repaired far more quickly, improving customer service and reducing water wastage. Other common environmental considerations are the quality of water, pollution events and so on.

Leveraging the power of smarter analytical capabilities has enabled water utility providers to make more accurate, fact-based decisions, which in turn has enabled improved performance, better customer service and enhanced operational efficiency. Some of the areas that can be addressed using accurate data and insight include identifying water main burst events, interruptions to supply, low pressure and the time taken to address these issues. In addition, service requests and calls for the same incident can be more effectively grouped for greater efficiency. Proactive handling of leaks can prevent water loss, and faster response times to abnormal weather events such as flooding and water main bursts can reduce wastage and improve service. These insights can then be used to improve services and reduce time to address issues.

In addition, to effectively addressing such problems and challenges, predictive analytics solutions also enable real-time data analysis, which can be used to deliver accurate demand forecasting. This assists water utilities to optimise resource allocation, leverage deeper insight for planning processes, and predict future growth.

Growing populations as well as scarce water resources place additional pressure on infrastructure, and improving performance requires this infrastructure to be utilised optimally in order to ensure service delivery. Harnessing the power of data, analytics and technology can assist water utility providers to improve customer service, operational efficiency and environmental impact, while enabling more effective delivery of services.

Source: African Environment


 

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