Post-COVID-19: South Africa advised to invest in water security infrastructure

The South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE) has written to President Ramaphosa to advise him to focus infrastructure investment in the Post-Covid19 period on projects that will support jobs and the economy.

Since the government’s resources will be extremely limited in the post-COVID period, it will be vital to ensure that interventions are carefully prioritised and well-targeted to support jobs and the economy.

“Targeted action in the water sector can make an important contribution to help South Africa recover from COVID” says the SAAE.

The first of a series of Advisory Notes from SAAE focuses on securing reliable water supplies to sustain the economy. It identifies opportunities for social partnerships that will help to complement the Government’s limited human and financial resources.

“Investment in water infrastructure can build long term resilience through partnerships that kickstart economic activity, create jobs and ensure that all of our compatriots have enough safe, accessible and reliable water.”

But the SAAE emphasises that projects must be carefully selected and properly implemented:

“Post-COVID plans must tackle the right issues in the right way to put the country back onto a more sustainable development path.”

It suggests the tried and tested project finance mechanisms used by the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) for the Lesotho Highlands and other projects. These allow water users to fund major projects with limited recourse to government’s budget. The involvement of private sector water users also helps to ensure efficient design, implementation and operation.

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