Water is essential for life. Clean fresh water is crucial for drinking and sanitation, providing for our crops, livestock, and industry, and creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all life depends.
The State of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in South Africa
South Africa remains a water-scarce country and is facing a challenge in the delivery of water and sanitation services caused by among other factors, insufficient water infrastructure maintenance and investment; recurrent droughts driven by climatic variation; inequities in access to water and sanitation; deteriorating water quality; and a lack of skilled water engineers, scientists, hydrologists, geo-hydrologists and resource economist.
The provision of quality water to all communities is essential for human health and well-being, economic development and the realisation of the constitutional rights of all South Africans.
The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has tested the resiliency of South Africa’s water supply systems in unprecedented and unanticipated ways. It has concentrated the focus of Viva con Agua SA on the provision of water security and access to dignified sanitation services.
Facts and Statistics
Water and the Environment
Water is essential for life. Clean freshwater is crucial for drinking and sanitation, providing for our crops, livestock and industry, and creating and sustaining the ecosystems on which all life depends. However, readily accessible freshwater – which is found in rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers – accounts for less than one per cent of the world’s water.
As the global human population grows, so too do the demands for water. At the same time, human activity and climate change are disrupting natural water cycles, putting freshwater ecosystems under pressure. Poor water management, pollution, infrastructure development and resource extraction further exacerbate the negative impacts on our freshwater systems.
It is imperative to restore a more natural flow regime to rivers, creeks and wetlands.The construction of dams, weirs, and other water infrastructure has provided a more reliable source of water for people but may disrupt the natural flow cycle needed for healthy rivers and wetlands. It is critical that a balance is struck that improves the
All water and environmental efforts are critical to support the health of rivers and wetlands and in doing so support the communities that rely on them.
is a core requirement for sustainable development and is a critical requirement for socio-economic development, health, education and the ecosystem
refers to a facility, behaviour and services that safely separates human waste from human contact. If people have no choice but to defecate in the open, excreta is transferred back into water resources and the food chain.
refers to behaviours that can prevent the spread of disease. Without hand washing, the benefits of clean water and safe toilets will be limited. In some parts of the world there is little or no knowledge of how disease can be prevented by the simple act of hand washing. In other places, people may have the knowledge of good hygiene behaviour, but lack access to hand washing facilities, soap and water.