Priorities and partnerships are critical to water security in SA

SAB prioritises water security in its communities and demonstrates how partnerships play a key role in making an impact.

Tomorrow (22 March), the world celebrates World Water Day – a Global Day of Significance dedicated to shining a light on the millions of people who live without access to safe drinking water. In South Africa, 2019 Stats SA data suggests that only 44.9% of South African households have access to piped water.

World Water Day coincides with SAB’s commemoration of a ten-year partnership with the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN) - where we have made a commitment to aid water demand management by fixing ailing water infrastructure in the City of Polokwane. To enable this, we have invested over R10m with Anglo American for the installation of grey infrastructure such a bulk meter and servicing and monitoring for top consumers around Polokwane.  The investment will aide in reducing water losses, improve water use efficiency and reduce non-revenue water for the City of Polokwane, with the intention of making water available to the areas and communities in deficit.

The SWPN is a multi-stakeholder partnership run by the Department of Water and Sanitation and that collectively strives to close the 17% gap in water supply and demand that is anticipated to manifest in South Africa by 2030. The Department of Water and Sanitation has welcomed the partnership between the public and private sectors in addressing this challenge of non-revenue water. The partnership will improve the availability of water at Polokwane City and the surrounding areas. The Department encourages more private sectors to collaborate with the government to address water issues.

While a lot of responsibility lies on the government to provide clean water to citizens, SAB believes that corporates have a big role to play in the sustainability of our communities, and that the brewer serves as a prime example of how sustainability efforts can extend beyond the bottom line and impact communities who are in desperate need.

On a global level, AB InBev, SAB’s holding company, has committed to measurably improve water availability and quality to 100% of its communities by 2025 and ensure all operations globally use 2.5hl of water for every hl of beer produced. Within its operations, SAB focuses on driving water use efficiency, responsible discharge and effluent reuse and beyond the brewery gates, it invests in water security and watershed protection, through public and private Partnerships.  

Zoleka Lisa, SAB’s VP for Corporate Affairs adds, “These are the kind of partnerships that truly make a difference for the people of our communities. SWPN is a shining light when it comes to the power of partnerships and aligns with our integrated water stewardship response, which includes contributing to the water broader landscape through innovation, policy engagement and thought leadership, as well as the promotion of water access to communities.”