Israel hopes to lend a helping hand to try and find solutions to the water woes being faced by South Africa due to prolonged droughts in some parts of the country.

August 24, 2022

Sipho Siso

City of Johannesburg’s Ward 72 councillor Daniel Schay; Arava Institute of Environmental Studies director from Israel Clive Lipchin; and Johannesburg Water’s general manager of operations Etienne Hugo at the Houghton panel discussion.

Water and sewage woes being experienced in Alexandra could soon be a thing of the past if only Johannesburg Water keeps its word.

Speaking at a panel discussion in Houghton, following the arrival in Johannesburg of an Israeli water expert in the country Clive Lipchin, who is the director of Transboundary Water Management for the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, and Johannesburg Water’s general manager of operations, Etienne Hugo said they had plans to fix the water and sewer woes in Alexandra.

“Part of the problems being faced by the community of Alex when it comes to water and sewer problems is due to the old pipes that need to be replaced.

“The other problem relates to issues of over population in the township as the pipes that were put in place those many years ago cannot cope with the load and demand, and hence, they keep bursting time and again.

“Joburg Water has plans to upgrade the reticulation system in Alex by laying out new and bigger pipes that can cope with the demand,” Hugo added but would not give the timelines of the upgrade project.

Although Johannesburg was not facing a water crisis as yet, Lipchin said it was important that the city positions itself on a higher pedestal of preparedness just in case what happened in Cape Town a year or so ago and what is happening now in Gqeberha does not come to haunt Johannesburg as well.

“You cannot predict these [weather] issues around the drought and it would be good that Johannesburg does not get caught with its pants down but that when the drought comes to this part of the country, they be prepared and ready to deal with it,” Lipchin said.

Lipchin was in the country to help the Tshwane metro solving the water issues faced by the city’s residents, including areas such as Hammanskraal.

The Tshwane initiative followed a previous meeting held between the Jewish National Fund of South Africa, which brought Lipchin to the country and funds the expert delegation with their solutions-based ingenuity, and the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Eli Belotsercovsky and the City of Tshwane.

To help address this, the Jewish Fund decided to fund a project to help solve the problem. Israeli academics arrived in South Africa on August 8 for consultations with local municipalities on crucial issues affecting water infrastructure and how Israeli technology can help.