Waterwise:  Advancing life, equity and sustainable resource use

  Thursday 12 June 2008, 16h30 - 18h00 

 (tea and coffee served beforehand, please be seated at 16h30)    

Centre for the Book, Cape Town

Isandla Institute and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa invite you to a Development Dialogue on

Few South Africans have been left unaffected by the energy crisis facing South Africa. But what about the state of water in the country? The official government position states that there is no current or impending water crisis, but is that perspective shared by poor households whose access to safe water is severely constrained? Last month's High Court ruling that installing prepayment water meters in Phiri, Soweto, is unconstitutional and unlawful suggests that the South African government needs to do more to ensure that people’s right to water is realised. In light of this ruling, is it appropriate to commodify a natural resource like water and if so, what price can consumers reasonably be expected to pay? Taking a longer term view, is South Africa able to ensure consistent water supply in the face of growing demand? Given that water is a limited natural resource, are we using it wisely? And given that water is a life force, are we using it equitably and in the interest of the public good?

Jackie Dugard from the Centre for Applied Legal Studies will summarise the legal arguments put forward to the High Court on behalf of the Phiri residents and share her views on the implications of the judgment for poor communities and municipalities.  

Laila Smith, Mvula Trust, will comment on how local communities can get more involved in water management 

Osman Asmal, City of Cape Town, will bring in a municipal perspective on the challenges and possible contradictions between equitable water provision for the poor and sustainable environmental resource management.


The Development Dialogue will be held on Thursday  12 June 2008 from 16h30-18h00, at the Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town. Tea and coffee are made available between 16h00-16h30. Kindly note that the event will start at 16h30. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for informal interaction over drinks and snacks. 

If you are interested in attending this event, please r.s.v.p. on admin@isandla.org.za  by Tuesday 10 June. You will receive confirmation of your attendance.

We look forward to seeing you there!