A milestone moment for sustainable water management in South African Industrial Parks – Launch of the Water Stewardship SOPs

On 31st May 2022 the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in partnership with NatuReS launched the Water Stewardship for Sustainable Water Management: Standard Operating Procedures for Industrial Parks (Water Stewardship SOPs). Launched virtually alongside key contributors and partners who were instrumental in the development, namely the Alliance for Water Stewardship, Water Witness International, the advisory firm Pegasys, the South African National Cleaner Production Centre, Free State Development Cooperation and the Atlantis Special Economic Zone, the Water Stewardship SOPs represent a turning point for sustainable water management in industrial parks in South Africa.  

water stewardship
The launch event of the Water Stewardship Standard Operating Procedures in Industrial Parks took place on 31th May 2022.

Managing water sustainably in South Africa’s industrial parks

Through a four-phased approach, the Water Stewardship SOPs support industrial parks, including park tenants, to holistically view their interaction with water, establish actions for efficient and sustainable water use within the facility, as well as at a park level and beyond park boundaries into the catchment. The value of this integrated approach is that it provides a basis for engagement in collective action for the shared management of a common resource. It also offers first level guidance for responses embedded in stewardship to support the journey of industrial parks towards water security.

The water security of industrial parks is fundamentally linked to the catchment conditions in their area of operation. Therefore, it is critical for industrial parks and their associated park tenants to engage beyond their sites through actions which mitigate against shared catchment-related water security risks. By doing so, they elevate their competitiveness, while enhancing the water security of their sites and that of the catchment where their supply chain network and employees are located.

water stewardship in industrial parks
Participants during the launch of the Water Stewardship SOPs. Copyright: GIZ

An internationally informed process

The Water Stewardship SOPs draw from the criteria and indicators within the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s ‘International Water Stewardship Standard’ and from the global Eco-Industrial Park Framework. Integrating these two instruments into the SOPs provides park managers and tenants with the confidence to internalise the SOPs with the knowledge they have already gained from these internationally recognised frameworks.

The launch of the Water Stewardship SOPs is timely, as industrial parks and other economic sites are facing increased nature-related risks and hazards. The launch event was attended by over 80 participants, representing various public, private, and non-governmental organisations active in the South African industrial park landscape, as well as an international audience. The presence of these diverse stakeholder groups underscores the cross-cutting nature of industrial parks and the importance of developing clearly articulated guidelines which aim to foster cross-sectoral collaborations and backstop the participation of stakeholders as they journey towards improved water use and shared water security. 

Did you miss the launch event? Watch the recording here!

The Water Stewardship SOPs can be accessed through this link: FINAL-COMPLETE-REPORT.pdf (industrialefficiency.co.za)

QINA – Be Strong! WASH Campaign linked to COVID-19 Behavioral Change and Vaccine Awareness in the Nelson Mandela Bay City Region

The impact of COVID-19 on health, economic development and community life remains unprecedented in South Africa as well as the Nelson Mandela Bay City region (NMB) in the Eastern Cape province.
To adequately address the impacts on economic and social life from the ongoing pandemic and its consequences in the City region, a collaborative response by private, public and community stakeholders was needed. Therefore, NatuReS South Africa partnered with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber (NMBBC) under the umbrella of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water & Economic Resilience Partnership to mitigate the tremendous setback stemming from the pandemic.

The QINA campaign logo. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

In November 2020, in a first phase of immediate actions funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) COVID-19-relief-funds, the Business Chamber launched various awareness campaigns promoting behavioural change at community level. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and water were distributed to vulnerable communities. Additionally, community engagement workshops, as well as media-, radio- and poster campaigns in local languages were conducted. Moreover, an extensive school PPE and COVID-19 awareness campaign was developed to ensure a safe re-opening of schools, one of the priorities given the major impact closed schools have on children’s lives and their future opportunities.

QINA campaign rollout in Sydenham Primary School in Nelson Mandela Bay. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

As the pandemic continued, a second phase of actions was needed. Through another allocation of funds, the NMBBC launched an awareness campaign on COVID-19 behavioural change and vaccine awareness, linked to the safeguarding of jobs in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Region. From February until April 2022, the QINA Campaign (Qina meaning ‘be strong’ in isiXhosa – the most spoken language in NMB) informed the residents of NMB about good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) principles, linked to COVID-19 behavioural change and vaccine awareness. The campaign included radio adverts on Umhlobo Wenene FM, the most popular radio station in the Eastern Cape with a listenership of about 2.7 million people, to encourage people to protect their communities by washing their hands, wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

Bus back of one of the buses that drove around the NMB area saying “hlamba izandla, usindise impilo zabanye!” meaning “wash your hands, and save the lives of others” in isiXhosa. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

Moreover, six buses, which drove around the NMB area for three months, spread these important messages through bus back advertising in English, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa. A social media campaign on Facebook reached more than 54,000 people through posts that were boosted to target areas in NMB. Finally, roadshows in 15 schools with more than 11,300 students in Algoa Park, Greenbushes, KwaZakhele, Motherwell, New Brighton, Theescombe, and Zwidewere were organised, informing students and teachers on the importance of WASH principles, highlighting hand washing, wearing of masks and social distancing behaviour. For this purpose, 12,000 booklets containing both a children and an adult section were handed out to the pupils to inform them and their parents on good WASH behaviour and vaccine awareness. In addition, 16,500 facemasks, 650 five-litre bottles of sanitizer, and 90 infrared thermometers were distributed to the schools to assist them in fighting COVID-19.

An example page from the children section of the booklet. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication
An example page from the adult section of the booklet. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

All these measures aim at improving communities’ and businesses’ resilience against the current pandemic, as well as against future outbreaks and other disasters. Particularly the awareness for the importance of adequate WASH principles and services is crucial to keep communities safe in the long-term.

Launch Event: Water Stewardship SOPs for South African Industrial Parks

The South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in collaboration with GIZ Natural Resources Stewardship Programme have developed the Water Stewardship for Sustainable Water Management Standard Operating Procedures for Industrial Parks.

The aim of the Water Stewardship Guide as an SOP for Industrial Parks is to embed water stewardship practices, promote efficient water use and value creation in industrial parks. This ambition is facilitated through a four-phased approach which provides defined steps and actions to foster practical ease and seamless internalization across the various levels of an industrial park.

At a time when industrial areas are facing heighted operational risks the SOPs can serve as a lever to support industrial sites respond to their unique water-related challenges.

Click here to join the meeting on 31st May, 09.00 SAST.

awareness campaign

“Let’s be responsible and save our future together”: Awareness Campaign in uMhlathuze, South Africa

Together with the City of uMhlathuze, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP) launched an information campaign with the overarching slogan “Let’s be responsible…” in December 2021. The campaign, which is broadcasted through social media and on GagasiFM in both English an isiZulu, aims to create awareness around being a responsible citizen. This includes focusing on the protection of the environment through using water sparingly and not littering, but also by wearing masks and getting vaccinated to curb the spread of the current Covid-19 pandemic as well as other communicable diseases.

awareness campaign
“Let’s be responsible” Campaign by the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership and the City of uMhlathuze. Copyright: UWASP/GIZ

The campaign will continue and will be rolled out in several primary and secondary schools in the partnership area. The schools awareness campaign will also include the provision of personal protective equipment, including masks and hand sanitizers, as well as bottled water. Besides the schools campaign, a special information sharing campaign will also target up to 500 seasonal farm workers for improved awareness, e.g. on environmental protection. Through the different messages of the campaign, the City of uMhlathuze together with UWASP aim to improve responsible citizenship and awareness around water use, safe communication behaviour and the importance of vaccination in the area.


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