The finance minister will not be surprised to learn that worldwide only 10% of plans produced by the water departments of national governments have the money and people needed to implement them. That’s the report from the UN’s joint monitoring programme (JMP), which tracks progress on the global sustainable development goals for water.

SA is no exception. The department of water & sanitation’s master plan, launched recently by minister Lindiwe Sisulu, says nearly R900bn will be needed over the next 10 years to build the infrastructure needed for water security. The shortfall is at least R300bn. And that’s before operating costs...

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