SALGA and Japan Water Works Association (JWWA) agree to work collaboratively in enhancing water management between South Africa and Japan municipalities

WATER SCARCE: A scene in Port Elizabeth, typical of what residents of areas in the Eastern Cape and elsewhere encounter on a daily basis Picture: THAMSANQA MBOVANE

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and Japan Water Works Association (JWWA), on Wednesday, April 21, entered into a letter of intent (LOI) to share information, improve public health, enhance and develop safe and sufficient water management and supply.

The collaboration was formalised during a virtual joint feedback session on water management webinars that the two parties have been busy with since the beginning of the year. Since then, SALGA and JWWA have jointly initiated and convened three webinars on water management, focussing on the following thematic areas;

  1. Human Resources Development
  2. Disaster/Emergency Response
  3. Product Quality and Technology & Innovation

Speaking via zoom during the joint feedback session, SALGA CEO Xolile George said: “Today’s conservation is critical for us as SALGA. One of our mandates is to support and advise, and most importantly, to find solutions to challenges faced by our member municipalities. Our water services delivery track record has been incrementally improving. Under the 2018 – 2019 reporting period, municipalities increased access to water and sanitation by 5, 2% and 7, 6% respectively.

“There is always room for improvement and we are cognizant of the stubborn challenges that persist, such as non-revenue water, reliability of supply, infrastructure management, and human resources development data management and analytics amongst others.  It is our observation that the Japanese have excelled in these fields amongst many others. We wish to further exchange notes on your recipe for success.”

The LOI will assist to regularise the partnership and take the partnership to higher levels. There is evidence that two organisations bring value to the table in a quest to advance better water management.

In a presentation delivered at the joint session feedback session, pockets of success were highlighted, indicating the resounding success in creating a platform for municipalities for both countries to share knowledge, experiences, challenges and solutions in the water supply sector. The webinars were attended by 1,072 participants and had an evaluation rating of 77%. Furthermore, SALGA, jointly with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), convened a water supply learning and sharing conservation between eThekwini, Umgeni Water, Water Institute of South Africa and Yokohama City’s young water professionals.

SALGA wishes to thank the JICA and the Department of Water and Sanitation for supporting the endeavours between SALGA & JWWA.

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