The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has already commissioned projects in all Water Service Authorities (WSAs) to do situational assessments of water supply infrastructure and reasons for service delivery challenges. The outcomes of these assessments show that the backlogs are due to the significant growth in the number of households on the fringes of communities that have not been connected to existing municipal water supply infrastructure. This is also borne out by the census 2022 data indicating a 23,4% growth in the number households from 14,4 million households in 2011 to 17,8 million in 2022.
Although the overall access to piped water shows a small increase, the percentage of households with access to piped water inside the dwelling increased from 46.3% in 2011 to 59.7% in 2022, which indicates a focus on delivery of higher levels of service. The distribution of households by main source of water contrasts with the piped water figure as the majority of households across the three censuses made use of a regional/local water scheme as their main source of water. This proportion increased steadily from 74,7% in 2001 to 79,7% in 2011, and to 82,7% in 2022.
The DWS has two conditional grants which aim at addressing water and sanitation services backlogs across the country and is implementing over 250 water and sanitation intermittent and intermediate projects aimed at providing water and sanitation services to all municipalities across the country. These projects are funded through Water Services Infrastructure Grant which provide immediate to short term solutions.
Furthermore, the DWS has over 90 bulk water projects that will assist municipalities across the country to connect households to potable water. These bulk water projects are funded through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant. All these projects are initiatives by the DWS to ensure that households have access potable water.