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Wesgro and GreenCape host dialogue on the strengthening of the Cape water sector

On 26 March, Wesgro and GreenCape hosted a dialogue engagement to discuss how best to turn the water crisis into an opportunity for economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape.

The open and robust session brought together officials from the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government, water sector businesses, consulate representatives and academics and focused on what needed to be done to strengthen the water sector so that this objective can be achieved.

GreenCape also used the occasion to launch the 2018 Water Sector Market Intelligence Report (MIR), which focuses on a number of notable opportunities for investors and businesses in the water sector. These include:

  • Growing private sector demand for smart water metering systems as a tool for improved water management.
  • The potential market for Water Consumption and Water Demand Management (WCWDM) projects that reduce non-revenue water in South African metros is estimated at ~R2-billion a year, of which ~R500-million is unfunded.
  • Water reuse in the industrial sector presents opportunities for both technology and service providers. The total Gross Value Add (GVA) for moderate and highly water intense users in the WC in 2016, excluding agriculture, was R155-billion in 2017.
  • New residential and commercial property developments in the province are a key market for water efficient devices and greywater reuse systems, presenting a potential market of ~R900-million per year.
  • Municipalities are increasingly interested in potable water reuse of their municipal wastewater. In Cape Town there is a potential market of over R5-billion.
  • There are a number of opportunities relating to groundwater and rainwater systems across all private sector markets. The potential residential market in the Western Cape could be worth ~R5.8-billion.
  • Large-scale seawater desalination is an emerging market that presents a number of opportunities for investors. Globally, equity returns in desalination projects are typically at least 14%, with higher returns (up to 18%) expected in higher risk countries.

Both Agencies were pleased to welcome Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde; the Head of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), Solly Fourie; Chief Director: Green Economy, DEDAT, Helen Davies; Director of Enterprise and Investment, City of Cape Town (CoCT), Lance Greyling; and Sustainable Special Projects in the CoCT Depart of Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, Sarah Rushmere.

During the first half of the engagement, these officials provided an overview of the current policy environment and strategy with respect to the water sector, as well as what future plans include. Furthermore, reflections on lessons learnt from the energy crisis and the water by-law amendments currently out for public consultation were elaborated upon.

The more than 150 attendees then discussed these presentations and plans and provided input in 15 facilitated group discussions. The feedback received will be used to guide future dialogue engagements.


The IWA Water Loss Specialist Group, together with City Of Cape Town, will host the biennial Water Loss Conference and Exhibit from 7 to 9 May 2018 at the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Learn more…

Minister Alan Winde said: “We’ve seen several companies investing in water technologies since the start of the drought which has not only contributed to their own resilience, but also kick-started the water economy. The growth we have seen in water saving services and technologies has been incredible and shows how businesses and our economy are using innovative ways to adapt to changes in our environment. These innovations are also set to create new jobs and growth.”

The Deputy Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Ian Nielson reflected on the value of such an engagement: “Rapid urbanization and increasingly unpredictable climate patterns require us to fundamentally change our thinking and planning around water. One of the ways the City of Cape Town is doing this is by working more closely, not only with local partners like Wesgro and GreenCape, but also with other cities around the world that are experiencing similar challenges. Last month, Cape Town and four other international cities were accepted into the Water Resilience Network, an initiative of Arup and 100 Resilient Cities that will help cities better prepare for and respond to shocks and stresses to their water systems.”

The CEO of GreenCape, Mike Mulcahy added that the drought has been a catalyst for the water sector in the Western Cape and has reshaped the local water market. “The water crisis has driven the adoption of water technology in the private sector with significant growth seen in the commercial and residential sectors.”

Mulcahy continued: “The event held today with Wesgro was about how to leverage the current interest and activity in the sector into longer-term sustainable growth. This dialogue illustrated the interest that our local and provincial government partners have in providing investment support to enable the water economy to grow. Our “fresh off press” 2018 Water MIR highlights many of the current and potential opportunities and market growth we are seeing in this sector. Furthermore, due to the drought and long-term concerns over water security, municipalities are looking to procure alternative supplies, such as large-scale desalination and invest in water conservation and demand management measures.”

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, highlighted the importance of building a climate change resilient destination. “‘The Cape Town model’ will be discussed in many places around the world now and into the future. It is a case-study in how a major city can respond in the short-term to a climate change-induced crisis. But we can’t leave it there. We need to also focus on the long-term, and this requires the strengthening of the water sector. If more and more businesses, homes and government buildings become water-smart, we will reduce our water-footprint even further and strengthen our resilience over time. This will be a success story that can be told to investors and tourists who want to visit or do business in our province.”

Joint statement by Wesgro and GreenCape: 27 March 2018

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