Earth Summit 2002   Water Wise Programme

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Water Wise Programme – Promoting Social Solutions for the Wise Use of Water


Overall Comments on the Process & Outcomes

Valuable knowledge sharing on international and local South African models & activities. Decided to spend more time on this exchange rather than push through to the final detail of the programmes. The local group can meet again in the form of the Rand Water sponsored ‘Communications Forum’ to finalize the programme and start with planning and implementation.

Range of practical principles raised for action that has to be appropriate for the local context.

Impressive range of action plans suggested. No one large joint campaign – but rather a set of longer-term programmes to be ‘owned’ and implemented by local authorities.

Change in common vocabulary. Campaign’ to be replaced by ‘programme’ (to reflect an ongoing programme not an ad hoc or short terms intervention). ‘Social solutions’ to replace ‘social engineering’ (which was used in the past by destructive movements such as Apartheid and Nazism.)

Much appreciated humorous and engaging facilitation from Terence Thong.


Action Plans to be Implemented:


Joint advocacy over the next year through the Rand Water sponsored Communications Forum to achieve the following:

Municipalities to approve new posts, budget for and employ dedicated and professional staff for ‘social solutions’. E.g. Customer Service; Customer Care; Community Relations; Marketing; Public Participation; Communications; Public Relations; Education. Salaries to be competitive with private sector equivalents.

CMIP to allocate a greater proportion of funding for O&M costs & to reduce the counter-funding amount required from municipalities.

Municipalities to prioritise the upgrading of old reticulation infrastructure and the introduction of universal metering.

Municipalities to significantly improve customer service levels e.g. accurate and timeous metering & billing services.

Increased use of PHAST methodology.

Inter-sectoral and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Province; DEAT; DACEL to actively participate & support.

Water Services Development Plans to cover water efficiency and ‘social’ aspects

Municipalities to change policy & legislation to be able to repair leaks beyond the meter - inside customer’s properties.

Get endorsement for ‘social solutions’ and improved Customer Service from Municipal Managers & Executive Mayors.

DWAF & Dept of Education to introduce plumbing as a subject at technical high schools. (Pilot and then full rollout.)

DWAF & Dept of Education to introduce Water Wise content as a part of school curricula (just like other essential civic health subjects such as ‘first-aid’).



The two main components identified are a ‘Community Education Programme’ run by council politicians through ward committees and local structures and a  ‘Schools Education Programme’. These have to be ‘owned’ by each municipality – if produced by Rand Water then knowledge & skills transfer has to take place. Rand Water has developed Water Wise education & training materials & modules (content and methodologies) that municipalities can make requests for (on a cost-recovery basis). Each municipality to conduct a ‘Needs Analysis’ and a ‘Target Audience Segmentation’ study for their own Water Wise programmes. Each municipality to start submitting annual applications to municipal and national funding bodies for funding for Water Wise programmes.



South Africans to request international assistance for a ‘train-the-trainer’ programme. The intention is for each municipality to send an education representative to an ‘overseas’ institution to enhance their education & communication skills and experience. They then return and transfer skills to others at the municipality. Each municipality to budget for funding their own representative, or to apply for outside funding for this capacity-building project. Pilot within next year.



Comprehensive research to be conducted among local authorities; DWAF and Rand Water. (Review of Communications Audit conducted in 2000) Appoint the Water Research Commission (WRC) or a service provider to consult with all municipalities to formalize the ‘dipstick’ research conducted by this group. To take 3-6 months (ideally before any project or campaign planning.). Results to be disseminated through Communications Forum and placed in an electronic document form on the Knowledge Management hub. Cost approximately R 10 - 20,000 or funded by WRC.



Development of a Water Wise communication knowledge management hub, probably a web site to be hosted by Rand Water and/or DWAF. To contain local and international research findings; case studies; best practice ideas; downloadable materials; catalogue of what existing materials are available; register of activities conducted by various stakeholders; communication audits etc on one interactive hub. Linked to other sites such as clearinghouse WaterWiser; Wateronline etc. To cost approximately R 50 000 and take approximately 2-3 months including consultation with stakeholders.



Municipalities, supported by Rand Water and DWAF, to produce business plans and applications to submit to potential funding institutions. Approach the following:

Local government SETA for training funds.

Consolidate Municipal Infrastructure Programme (municipal funding mechanism)

National treasury through annual municipal budgets or other method.

International donor funders e.g. DANCED; USAID; USA’s EPA; DANIDA; UNEP; Water & Sanitation Programme for Africa based in Nairobi; UN Habitat Project (Water Demand Management in 7 African Cities)


Some Overall Lessons Learned

Professional facilitation makes a significant difference in the process and the quality of the outcomes

Political debate can easily derail the whole process

South African’s don’t like to work on weekends – only the really committed stay the distance

This group seems at this stage to be unable to move from the general to the specific. It’s easy to get people to talk about principles and what should happen - but it’s very difficult to get them to commit to real actions with responsibilities and deadlines.

It takes constant communication and motivation to get a project up and running and to keep it alive.


Potential Partners:

Botanala, Cities for Climate Protection, City Planning, Department of Provincial & Local Government, DWAF, Ekurheleni Metro, GALA, Gauteng Health Promotion, Govan Mbeki Municipality, Hestonaria Council, Instituto Ipanema, Lesedi Municipality, National Agroforestry Center, Randwater, Westrand District Municipality

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