Parched Prospects II Informs South Africa’s Response to Burgeoning Water Crisis

Date: 
2016

A new report from the Pardee Center for International Futures is helping shape South Africa’s national response to a burgeoning water crisis. Parched Prospects II, authored by the Pardee Center’s Research System Developer Steve Hedden (M.A. Korbel School, 2014), is a collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies, funded by the Water Research Commission in South Africa.

Hedden developed the water module in the International Futures (IFs) model and in 2014 published the first Parched Prospects report in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. He spent 2015 expanding the model, working with water experts across South Africa and deepening a complex understanding of the water crisis for policy makers seeking reasonable and long-term solutions to supply and demand.

According to Parched Prospects II, South Africa is likely overexploiting water resources at the national level, as withdrawals currently exceed reliable supply. Withdrawals in the municipal, agricultural, and industrial sectors are forecast to increase over the next 20 years. Proposed interventions for increasing supply and reducing demand are not enough to reconcile the gap between withdrawals and supply. More must be done to bring the South African water sector into balance in the future.

In addition to current policies and plans, the report recommends increasing wastewater treatment, groundwater withdrawals, and conservation. A national campaign (#WarOnLeaks) seeks to make conservation a matter of personal responsibility for South Africans. The Pardee Center’s research and integrated approach to the water crisis are helping shape public understanding of a complex and enduring challenge.

Parched Prospects II is an African Futures paper and a partnership between the Pardee Center for International Futures and ISS-Africa.