A book by Prof Larry A Swatuk entitled Water in Southern Africa was launched at JIAS on 26 July 2018.
Larry Swatuk is a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and an Extraordinary Professor in the Institute for Water Studies at the University of the Western Cape. The book is the first in the JIAS / UKZN Press Off-Centre Series.
The opening remarks were due to be delivered by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti. However, the minister was called away to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with his Chinese counterpart at the BRICS conference in Sandton, and his speech was read by Trevor Balzer, Deputy Director-Genera: Strategic and Emergency projects in the Department of Water and Sanitation.
Prof Swatuk then discussed the book, followed by a question and answer session.
When it comes to water, we are fed a daily diet of doom and gloom, of a looming crisis: wars of the future will be over water; nearly one billion people lack access to clean water; river basins are closed, so there is no more water to be allocated despite ever-growing demand; aquifers are overdrawn to such an extent that a global food crisis is just around the corner; and major cities, such as Bangkok and Mexico, are sinking. And let us not forget about pollution or vector-borne diseases.
The challenges for sustainable water management are massive. Yet, as shown in this book, there are many positives to be drawn from the southern African experience. Despite abiding conditions of economy underdevelopment and social inequality, people rise to the challenge, often out of necessity and through self-help, but sometimes through creative coalitions operating at different scales – from the local to the global – and across issue areas, from trans-boundary governance to urban water supply. This first volume in the Off-Centre series argues that we must learn to see water and the region differently if we are to meet present challenges and better prepare for an uncertain, climate-changing future.