27 October 2015 at 6:56pm

By: Amy Musgrave, Group Labour Editor

Johannesburg – South Africa is likely to see greater Dutch involvement with the management of its scare water resources following a massive government and business delegation trip from that country next month.Henk Ovik, the Netherlands’ special envoy for international water affairs, said while there were already some projects on the ground, his country was keen to expand in this area.

He told reporters in The Hague that South African Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane had expressed great interest.

“I’ve met with her three times – in Cape Town, Stockholm and New York… She wants to put in place a new water strategy. It’s not only looking at water surfaces, but definitely looking at a comprehensive approach like the Dutch have.

“So I offered her knowledge, research and expertise. So… we have set up a workshop between people from The Netherlands I have helped to collect, and her office in South Africa to rethink or you know to help think about this national water strategy.

At the end of the day I will help them wrap up and help draft some conclusions,” he said on Monday.

The department has recognised in the past that the country needs to adopt an advanced and smart water management approach. The traditional approach has been to focus mainly on new water resource development.

The Dutch delegation, which includes more than 100 businesses, many focusing on water, will explore issues of water quality, sanitation, water scarcity, and water safety both in terms of rain and flooding.

“It’s an opportunity for us to showcase that you can also do it differently, “Ovik said.

The Netherlands is a world leader in water technology innovation, having to install drains and dykes to reclaim land from the sea. Because two-thirds of the country would flood if were not for water protection structures, its programmes also take climate change, expanding economies and urbanisation into consideration.

The country spearheads a number of projects across the globe.One such project, which is the result of the Kingfisher Programme which supports the setting up of catchment management agencies in South Africa, is set to be implemented in Cape Town soon. The city has to tackle rising sea levels, polluted rivers and people living on flood plains.

“Without water we cannot survive… If governments don’t collaborate; if we don’t take care of that resource, people will die,” said Ovik.While earlier this year the World Economic Forum warned that international conflict was the biggest threat to the stability of the world in the next 10 years, the water crises was ranked the highest in terms of impact.Labour Bureau

Source: SA gets Dutch help with water resources – Politics | IOL Beta