CoJ officially launches water security strategy

27th March 2024 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

CoJ officially launches water security strategy

CoJ Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda

The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has officially launched its Water Security Strategy to connect to existing strategies and policies to offer an aligned approach to water security and provide a guideline towards becoming a water secure Johannesburg by 2040.

The strategy was designed to understand and review the current situation and state of the urban water system under the CoJ’s mandate; to reflect and identify the key challenges that face the municipality currently and in the future, and to codevelop and codesign key strategic responses and associated actions to mitigate the challenges.

With seven strategic responses and 67 action plans developed for both short and long-term implementation, the strategy aims to ensure sustainable water management and future water security.

Speaking at the launch on Tuesday evening, CoJ Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said that the complexity and interconnectedness of the challenges of water security required that the central importance of coordinated governance and integrated water resource management were recognised in collective efforts.

“In a country characterised by competing demands, fragmented water security, such as inequitable access to clean water and disproportionate impact of pollution on marginalised communities, there is a need to prioritise proactive measures that reduce flood risk and enhance resilience in our communities,” he said.

The comprehensive strategy addresses seven key challenges, including diversifying water sources, promoting conservation and demand management and cultivating a water-conscious society.

This includes implementing land use, planning and zoning regulations that steer development away from flood areas, promote green building practices that minimise flood damage and put in place early warning systems and emergency preparedness measures to ensure an effective response to flooding events.

Further, water security is essential for economic sustainability and sustainable development.

“Water is a vital resource for agriculture, industry, energy production and transportation. Without reliable water supply these sectors will falter, leading to economic instability and stagnation.

“By investing in water infrastructure, conservation measures and efficient water management practices, we can promote economic growth and create jobs and build resilient and thriving communities,” Gwamanda continued.

Environment and Infrastructure Services MMC Jack Sekwaila added that the strategy underwent rigorous critiquing and validation, resulting in seven categories of strategic responses.

“Each action is equally important, with clear timelines for implementation,” he said, noting that the implementation of the strategy was ongoing in collaboration with several partners to build water security.

“Our strategy outlines our commitment to safeguarding water resources, ensuring access to clean water for all, and building resilience against climate change. It is a comprehensive framework designed to protect public health, food security and the environment.”