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.
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.
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.
The Water Stewardship SOPs can be accessed through this link: Water-Stewardship-SOP_-June-amended.pdf (industrialefficiency.co.za).