According to Moneyweb, a Department of Water Affairs study said earlier this year that water infrastructure requires investment of R670b over the next decade. Crumbling canals, dams and pipelines and a lack of funds to expand, replace and maintain them threaten to stymie economic growth and efforts to tackle a 25 percent unemployment rate in Africa's biggest economy. Current available funding leaves a gap of R338b.
The study says businesses need to anticipate supply disruptions, higher bills and more regulation, adding that leaking pipes and inefficient irrigation already waste at least half the clean water in some areas. While rains over the past 16 years have helped avert shortages, the government expects demand to outstrip supply by 2025-2030, constraining farming and mining. South Africa's platinum and coal industries, two of the country's top four exporters, are already struggling to secure water supplies for new projects.
Western Cape vineyards owner Nico Greeff's has no illusions about the risks he faces: "the water infrastructure is about 60 years old and the lifespan of a surfaced canal is about 40 years," he says. Paul Skivington, group executive for strategy and risk at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP), the world's second- largest producer of the precious metal tells Moneyweb that water is one of the major risks IMP faces: "It's not something you can generate. It's either there or it's not."
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