By Stockholm International Water Institute
Published May 28, 2014
eThekwini Water & Sanitation of South Africa has won the 2014 Stockholm Industry Water Award.
A part of Durban Municipality, eThekwini Water & Sanitation was singled out for “its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation services.”
The citation of the SIWA Jury says, “The methods used and results achieved by eThekwini Water and Sanitation serve as a sterling example for the many communities worldwide facing similar challenges.”
From 1996 when South Africa’s constitution enshrined the human right to water, Durban, one of the country’s main urban centres, expanded its administrative boundaries to include 3.5 million people, some of them living in poorly serviced rural areas with huge water and sanitation challenges.
In the past 14 years, 1.3 million additional people in greater Durban have been connected to piped water and 700,000 people have been provided with access to toilets. Access to basic water supply and sanitation is provided at no cost to poor families.
In addition to providing basic services to a large and diverse population, eThekwini Water and Sanitation is at the forefront of exploring technical and social solutions. One example is a mini hydro-power project: instead of using pressure reducing valves in pipes running down steep hillsides, the company is installing mini turbines using the excess pressure to generate electricity for the city’s low tension grid. The eThekwini municipality is also pioneering solutions to convert urban waste-water challenges to agricultural opportunities as well as harvesting rainwater.
The combined result is one of the most progressive utilities in the world. The open approach to experimenting and piloting new solutions across both technical and social aspects of service delivery has made eThekwini a forerunner in the world of utility-run services.
The Stockholm Industry Water Award (SIWA) was established in 2000—The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)—to stimulate and celebrate outstanding and transformative water achievements by companies in improving production, managing risks, finding solutions and contributing to wise water management.
Neil Macleod, head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation, says of the award, “This recognition reflects the work of our whole team over the past 22 years and is a tremendous honour for all of us here in Durban.”