(KSA 3) Water Use and Waste
The Water Use and Waste Management KSA focuses mainly on the domestic, industrial and mining water sectors. It aims to proac-tively and effectively lead and support the advancement of technology, science, management and policies relevant to water supply, waste and effluent management, for these sectors. This KSA also supports studies on institutional and management issues, with special emphasis on the efficient functioning of water service institutions and their viability. Research on infrastructure for both water supply and sanitation is included. A further focus is on water supply and treatment technology serving the domestic (urban, rural, large and small systems) as well as the industrial/commercial and mining sectors of our economy. This KSA also focuses on waste and effluent as well as reuse technologies that can support the municipal, mining and industrial sectors and improve management in these sectors with the aim of improving productivity and supporting economic growth while minimising the negative effect on human and environmental health.
The provision and supply of water of adequate quality and quantity for economic and public health purposes remain continuous challenges. Water is a finite resource and, specifically in the context of South Africa, is becoming incrementally scarce. Managing water use and the waste released to the water environment is thus of paramount importance to ensure the sustainability of the resource and the activities relying on it. Water use and waste management in South Africa is consequently a key factor for social and economic growth, as well as for our environment. The entire way we think about and use water is thus an important factor in determining our future. In recent years the focus of the KSA has been on supporting the implementation of various pieces of legislation that impact on the provision of sustainable water services. The support was in the form of unpacking and understanding key elements within legislation and the impact on the water services sector. The result has been a bias towards developing guidelines and tools to assist new and emerging municipalities and politicians to understand their responsibilities, which also included repackaging information of a technical nature. In the process we have maintained a balance with dealing with cutting-edge technological advances and have been concentrating on their application and commercialisation. Developing innovative processes and technologies for water purification, reuse and treatment of wastewater from domestic to industrial and mining activities has been and is of even greater importance to our country, especially in the light of problems related to the deteriorating quality of our water resources and the rising costs and reliability of energy. Considering the emerging challenges, research in the KSA will continue to focus on greater innovation and development of cutting-edge technologies to respond to the issues of poor O&M, competency and capacity constraints, reuse, energy efficiency, climate change constraints, emerging contaminants and the aspect of drinking water quality.
The primary objective of this KSA is to provide knowledge that ensures reliable, affordable and efficient water use and waste manage¬ment services to enhance the quality of life, and contribute to economic growth and improved public health.
The secondary objectives are to:
Improve the management of water services in both rural and urban areas
Develop appropriate technologies for improving the quality and quantity of our water supplies for both domestic use and industrial applications
Develop new approaches to manage and enhance hygiene and sanitation practices
Provide appropriate, innovative and integrated solutions to water and waste management in the industrial and mining sectors
Develop applications for improved treatment of wastewater and effluent and improve processes for enabling increased reuse thereof
Improve health, economic and environmental conditions, while supporting the development of appropriate technologies and socially-focused management practices related to water and effluent management
The objectives of the KSA are orientated towards making a difference and impact in the areas of health, economy, environment and society. These are achieved through a portfolio of focused thrusts:
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