Johannesburg unveils bold water security strategy amid growing challenges

Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. | Timothy Bernard Independent Newspapers

Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. | Timothy Bernard Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 28, 2024


Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, together with the MMC of the Environment & Infrastructure Services Department (EISD), Jack Sekwaila, officially launched the City’s Water Security Strategy on Tuesday at the Joburg Theatre.

The official acknowledgement of the water strategy by the Johannesburg City Council on October 31, 2023, represented a significant milestone in guiding the municipality towards a future defined by water security and environmental awareness.

The water strategic endeavour was meticulously designed to address Johannesburg’s urban water infrastructure challenges while also leveraging potential avenues for transforming the City into a sustainable, robust, and flexible urban hub.

Gwamanda stated that they have witnessed the growing challenges posed by water scarcity, pollution, and the looming spectre of climate change in recent years.

“In recent weeks, the citizens of Joburg have faced challenges of shortages that remind us that water security is not merely a luxury but an imperative that demands our urgent attention and concerted action.

“Today, I stand before you not only as your mayor but as a guardian of our City’s most precious asset – our water. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the availability and quality of this vital resource for generations to come.

“To this end, the City in collaboration with its various stakeholders, has developed a comprehensive water security strategy.

“It is essential for ensuring the well-being of our communities, the prosperity of our economies, and the health of our environment, as we see Joburg through a transition towards being a water secure and sensitive city.

“It is a multifaceted approach that requires collaboration, innovation, and sustained investment across all sectors of society,” he said.

Sekwaila emphasised that the strategy demonstrated the City’s dedication to water safety. The introduction of the Water Security Strategy is a brave move that shows how committed this government is to tackling these issues, he said.

“It is a thorough a framework that details our dedication to protecting water resources, encouraging universal access to clean and safe water, and fostering resilience in the face of uncertainty brought on by climate change, among other things.

“As the City, we have successfully launched our Climate Action Plan (CAP), and this is a follow-up that shares the CAP as one of its core themes.

“A water security strategy is crucial for protecting public health, ensuring food and economic security, promoting environmental sustainability, building resilience to climate change, and advancing progress towards sustainable development goals,” said Sekwaila.

Paul Maluleke, a speaker from Alexandra Water Warriors, emphasised the importance of the environment in generating jobs and resolving certain socio-economic problems in his message of support for the City.