Resilient water and wastewater management in South Africa

Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Water and Wastewater Management

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  • Commissioning Party

    International Climate Initiative (IKI), German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

  • Cofinancier

    State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Switzerland (SECO)

  • Country
  • Overall term

    2022 to 2025

  • Other Stakeholders

    Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)

  • Products and expertise

    Sustainable infrastructure: water, energy, transport

Waste floats by the shore of a flood zone next to an informal settlement. Copyright: GIZ / Dirk Schaefer


In South Africa, municipalities are responsible for providing water and sanitation services. However, most municipalities do not have the financial and human resources necessary to provide these services in the long term. The security of the water supply and the quality of wastewater treatment have therefore been declining for years.

Demand for water is rising due to urbanisation and economic development. In addition, the risk of droughts and flooding is increasing due to climate change. Vulnerable population groups are particularly impacted by these trends.

The water supply and sanitation systems consume roughly one quarter of municipal electricity. However, studies show that there is potential for energy savings in this sector. Because South Africa’s electricity is still largely generated from coal, these energy savings would also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A clean stream flows along a reinforced wall – an example of grey-green infrastructure for flood protection. Copyright: GIZ / Dirk Schaefer


Municipalities in South Africa increasingly implement measures that improve the climate resilience of water and sanitation services and reduce the associated greenhouse gas emissions.


The project measures support climate adaptation and improve the country’s energy efficiency. They also contribute to the national climate targets and consider the needs of vulnerable groups.

The project improves the efficiency and resilience of the water supply and sanitation by:

  • expanding flood protection,
  • improving energy efficiency,
  • reducing water losses and
  • promoting water management capacities.

The project works in at least two municipalities using a replicable model and provides assistance with obtaining climate financing.

It also supports the South African Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in accelerating and more effectively implementing the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan.

Last update: July 2023