We pay for oil and food, so why not allow water to be market driven?
SA could have a regular, abundant supply of the resource if businesses were allowed to mine and distribute it, writes Robert Gentle
Suspend your disbelief for a moment and imagine the following scenario. Ten years from now, there are no more water shortages in SA. Farms are abundantly irrigated, swimming pools are full and even township gardens are lush and green. Mines and factories are abundantly supplied. All classes of citizens have access to affordable water. The price of water is quoted in the financial pages, alongside that of oil. It fluctuates with supply and demand, rising in times of drought and falling in times of heavy rains. SA’s water companies have become the world’s leading water producers, their expertise in demand. How would this “miracle” have occurred? The Day Zero crisis in Cape Town prompted the government to commission an international study into how SA could assure a sustainable, affordable and equitable water supply. The study recommended opening water to competition, market pricing and using the power of technology. In a rare show of economic realism and cross-party unity, Parliament a...