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The Private Sector Should Play a Key Role in Protecting Water Resources

Malcolm Curror, Chief Executive of United Manganese of Kalahari (UMK), emphasized the importance of businesses contributing to community water security. UMK stated that water preservation and equitable distribution are crucial in the short, medium, and long term.

Access to water and sanitation is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.

Large cities like Johannesburg have experienced water shedding and restrictions impacting households and businesses. Additionally, South Africa is facing a potential dry season due to the El Nino weather pattern and aging infrastructure. The country is already classified as a water-scarce region, and recent reports suggest an impending water crisis.

Curror emphasized that water is essential for life and also fuels industry and economic growth. He warned that a water crisis would be more damaging to the country than load-shedding. UMK operates in one of the country’s most arid regions, the Northern Cape desert area, and has witnessed the impact of water scarcity on communities, food security, and industry.

Curror stressed the importance of positive intervention from companies in their local areas to make a significant difference. He suggested that multiple companies could partner to work with local authorities, stakeholders, and other role players to implement sustainable solutions that address water challenges.

UMK recently worked on two water augmentation projects in collaboration with labor, community, and local authorities. These projects, with a collective price tag of R 15 million, included infrastructure development to provide clean, drinkable water at the Pompong and Ga-Sehunelo plants in the Joe Morolong Municipal area. The projects also aimed to enhance food security and develop entrepreneurs in the area.

Curror emphasized the potential of public and private partnerships to address water scarcity and improve the lives of communities. He urged private enterprises to take up the challenge and contribute positively to water security, stating that preventing a major national water crisis requires collective effort.

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