Water and sanitation are essential for human existence and economic development. There are, however, major challenges (domestically, regionally and globally) in relation to water and sanitation. There are also historical inequalities. Challenges include water security; water access; increased health and environmental regulation; aging infrastructure; and financial sustainability. Systemic responses include demand management; transitions towards more smart and sustainable technologies; sector restructuration; and tariff (as well as wider financing) reforms. Emerging solutions encompass infrastructural, technological and managerial responses.
The global water and sanitation market was estimated to be US$862 billion in 2016. This includes both capital and operational expenditure, the latter accounting for 64%. The market is expected to reach close to US$900 billion by 2022, growing by +3.7% a year over the 2015-2022 period. South Africa, ranked 16th, accounted for 1.3% of the global market. In South Africa, government has committed R115 billion until 2024 to water and sanitation infrastructure. Projects have been designed to “crowd in” private sector investment and private sector initiatives are independently investing in transitioning risk management of their asset base toward smarter and more sustainable solutions. Yet these significant investments (and those projected to follow) fall short of the projected needs. Improving efficiencies is therefore a key focus of many efforts.
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