In virtually every country has strategies for pursuing greater broad-based economic growth and fighting poverty and inequality that underscore the pivotal role of water, including its availability in reasonable quantity and desired quality. While GDP growth in South Africa slowed down from 2.2% in 2013 to 1.5% in 2014, and while there are suggestions that current growth drivers are weak and inflation drivers strong, hopes remain for moderate economic growth of upwards of 2.5% going forward. Aside from stabilizing power supply and securing an upward movement in consumer confidence, such optimism rests on the return of mining and manufacturing activities to their previously high levels, with implications for water requirements. Growing demand for water-intensive growth will be occurring side-by-side with the expanding needs of urbanization and social advancement, in the face of an increasing threat of climate change, recurring droughts, environmental pollution and limited accessible water resources. Effective reconciliation of the demand and supply of water would require the strengthening of water conservation and demand management beyond their currently low to moderate levels, calling for a paradigmatic shift in approaches to water management, sound appreciation of the potential benefits vis-à-vis the allocation of requisite resources and firm political leadership and support.
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