Water utilities are losing billions of rand through lost and stolen water in SA, while poor sanitation in Africa is leading to the deaths of millions of children through water-borne diseases.
This emerged from the four-day African Water Association conference, which started in Durban yesterday.
The water indaba, which has brought together leaders from African water utilities, heard that water was fast becoming a scarce resource mainly because of poor management on the continent.
Richard Holden, from SA’s Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, said rapid urbanisation in the country and other changes had added to SA’s water “stress”.
SA was facing a revenue shortfall of R2.6 billion to address its national water infrastructure backlog, he said. The country also had a poor and unsustainable billing system, with some people not paying for water. This meant that local authorities were owed more than R1bn for water that was used but not paid for.