Working Towards Better Water Management in South Africa (2015)

Companies, farmers, and government are working together in the Western Cape of South Africa to address shared water risks.

Location: Western Cape, South Africa

Issue: Regional water risks stemming from invasive plant species and local municipal sanitation challenges

Organizations involved: Marks and Spencer (M&S), Woolworths, WWF, Alliance for Water Stewardship, GIZ, Catchment Management Authority

Year: 2015

When UK retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) adopted a water stewardship approach to address water risk in their supply chains, the Western Cape was identified as a key risk area. M&S joined forces with South Africa retailer Woolworths, WWF, Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), and a progressive group of stone fruit farmers to address the challenges together. This catalyzed collective action in the region, and an expanded multi-stakeholder group is now taking action across a number of areas which will directly contribute to the SDG targets.

After working with farmers to assess and improve water management practices on farms, partners broadened engagement with more local stakeholders, including representatives from the Catchment Management Authority, to map water risks in the region. Now, the partnership – with engagement from GIZ – is working to address these risks by ensuring that invasive plants are cleared, addressing local municipal sanitation issues, and creating channels to share knowledge and information on better water management.