It’s easy for policymakers and pundits to talk about hard choices in the abstract. Too often though, they neither describe those choices nor act on them.

Consider the water crisis in Johannesburg, where households face daily interruptions and often erratic billing. It’s easy to speculate about corruption. Ultimately though, the situation reflects the tough decisions required to serve a rapidly growing but deeply unequal population. The hard decisions centre on water and land use, investment and tariffs...

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