When the oil and water crisis mix – South Africa’s need for action


Surging energy costs and the conflict in Ukraine have seen the South African government take swift and bold action to limit the impact of rising prices on the public. Finance minister Enoch Godongwana cut the fuel levy by almost 40% until the end of May.

Yet, the country is also battling a long-term water shortage problem due to a myriad of issues, including drought, increased scarcity, climate change and infrastructure.

According to the National Water and Sanitation Plan, South Africa will experience a water supply deficit of 17% by 2030. With more than 3 million households without access to clean running water, the shortage crisis is ever-growing and the need for proactive and effective solutions is now.

The Role of Business

“Consistent access to clean running water remains a challenge for many rural communities across South Africa. Having access to clean running water is the difference between compromised human health, environment protection and socio-economic development,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, CCBSA Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director.

Wherein, technological advances continue to propel efficiency into the lives of all. Basic needs such as access to clean running water remain elusive, despite the resource being outlined as a basic human right.

Projects such as Coke Ville show the potential for South Africa to reclaim their agency in pushing for a solve in the water shortage crisis. Coke Ville is an off-grid, solar-powered groundwater harvesting, and treatment project targeted toward communities experiencing water insecurity. To date, the project has generated more than 130 million litres of water to the benefit of more than 15 000 households in rural settlements across 9 sites in South Africa, with a projected 4 site development in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo.

“Having access to clean running water is [essential for] human health, environmental protection and socio-economic development. Globally, The Coca-Cola Company’s Water Stewardship Strategy 2030, is a three-pronged strategy for water that is focused on regenerative operations, healthy watersheds, and resilient communities. CCBSA’s strategy focuses on sustainable, efficient water usage, improving local water challenges and partnering with others to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, with a focus on women and girls”, concludes Ngcobo.

The solve for the water shortage crisis is not through building more dam walls anymore. Instead, the solution lies in rehabilitating our current water supplies and effectively developing alternative means of water sourcing. South Africa’s current river flow is produced by 10% of land area. This only accounts for half of the country’s water supply. The rest comes from groundwater harvesting, rain supply and a fractional supply of desalinated water.

The time is now for water resilience.

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