SAB, SWPN and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Launch Water Partnership

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in partnership with the South African Breweries and the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) established a water partnership to help solve the water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The prolonged below average rainfall in catchment areas and declining water levels at the dams supplying the towns of Gqeberha, Kariega and Despatch, coupled with associated constraints on economic development, is pushing the situation to breaking point. The Nelson Mandela Bay Water Partnership aims to resolve related water challenges and establish long-term sustainable water solutions through collaborative platforms between the public and private sectors.

In support of the partnership’s objectives SAB recently signed an agreement to fund R2.5-million into the project. A proud partner of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water Partnership, SAB has 2025 globally committed Sustainability goals that target areas in South Africa facing high water stress challenges, including Gqeberha. Africa Sustainability Manager, Alyssa Jooste says that: “The formation of this partnership reflects our commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach in the water sector, with a shared vision of driving our collective responsibility and inclusivity for all, in high stress watersheds.”

The Nelson Mandela Bay Water Partnership is hosted by the SWPN, under a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Retief Odendaal described this important partnership as a progressive step to ensure that the Municipality delivers on its objective to augment water supply and conserve water. “This initiative is indicative of our commitment to mitigate the impact of this protracted drought on all our residents. It remains necessary for all stakeholders to continue to work together to save water”, says Odendaal.

This partnership leverages the success of the Polokwane Water Partnership (PWP) which was established in partnership with the Polokwane Municipality, SAB, Anglo American and SWPN to reduce water security risks, water losses, and support water conservation and demand management within the area.

SWPN Secretariat Peter Varndell believes the PWP is a blueprint for successful partnering which is emulated by the Nelson Mandela Bay Water Partnership. “The essence of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water Partnership which builds off the success of the PWP is to create an enabling environment for the business sector to flourish and be sustainable. With industry stakeholders working together and partnering with government, local municipalities and other key stakeholders, we are well positioned to effectively address the water risks facing the community. We encourage business stakeholders to join this partnership as their contribution is crucial to its success.” says Varndell.

Several focus areas of collaboration have been identified by the partners which include, Water Conservation, Water Demand Management and Water Supply Augmentation.

“These are the kind of partnerships that truly make a difference for the people of our communities. SWPN is a shining light when it comes to the power of partnerships and aligns with our integrated water stewardship response, which includes contributing to the water broader landscape through innovation, policy engagement and thought leadership, as well as the promotion of water access to communities. Says Zoleka Lisa, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at SAB.

This partnership is project managed by the SWPN, which is formally recognised in the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan (NWSMP) and the National Water Resource Strategy (NSWRS). The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is the SWPN’s public sector co-chairperson, Nestlė is the private sector co-chairperson, and the Nepad Business Foundation NPC (NBF) is the host of the SWPN.

This article was published on The Herald

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