The South African Civil Society Water Caucus

This network of about 20 organisations active inthe water sector was formed shortly after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Since then the Water Caucus has met regularly, and is recognised by the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry as a critical voice to engage with in policy and implementation processes.

Issues and processes the SAWC has worked with include: large dams, national water resources strategy, regulation, water pricing, water quality, pre-paid metres, tricklers and cut-offs, NEPAD, and The Water Dialogues.

Water Caucus members in various parts of the country have set up provincial caucus groups to include community groups and to engage with local-level water issues. Functioning provincial caucuses exist in Mpumalanga, Western Cape, KZN, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape.


Water Caucus Manifesto

Water Caucus membership is open to all civil society organisations who subscribe to the Caucus Manifesto:

  1. Water and sanitation are human rights. All people are entitled to have access to water to meet their basic human needs, and rural communities are entitled to water for productive use to sustain their livelihoods.
  2. Water management must be accountable to communities at a local level.
  3. We respect the integrity of ecosystems as the basis for all life – both human and nature – with an emphasis on maintaining river ecosystems and groundwater resources.
  4. We reject the commodification and privatisation of water services and sanitation, and water resources.
  5. Further, we reject the role of the USA, the other G8 countries and Trans-National Corporations for their role in pushing privatisation and commodification.
  6. We reject the UN WSSD process and outcomes so far, as nothing more than structural adjustment of the South. We therefore resolve to work together with social movements to realise an alternative vision.
  7. We reject NEPAD and the plans for water in NEPAD as not being sustainable. It is structural adjustment by Africa for Africa. In particular we reject the privatisation of water and the hydropower focus. We commit ourselves to building a mass movement for the reconstruction and sustainable development of Africa.
  8. We undertake to educate and raise awareness and to mobilise communities towards the WSSD.


Reflection on Strategies and Tactics

National Workshop - November 2007

Reflecting on the world is what we as civil society organisations do all the time, but reflecting on ourselves is something more of a challenge, and this was the theme of the Workshop hosted by Environmental Monitoring Group and South African Water Caucus on 1 November 2007 in Kalk Bay, Cape Town.

The aim of the Workshop was to see what could be learned from listening to and discussing case studies of a different approaches followed  to CSOs including direct protest, petitions, dialogue, legal challenges, demonstration projects, etc.

The case studies presented illustrated a range of different approaches. The Water Dialogues is an example of research, conversation and relationship building. Masibambane could be seen as advocacy in implementation, with an emphasis on supporting local government. The assumption behind Citizens’ Voice is that if people are educated and aware of their rights, they will demand better services and help regulate local authorities. The Phiri Prepaid Meters case study is an example of direct action, leading to litigation.


EMG hosted the meeting. Victor Munnik facilitated and Liane Greeff took the photos.

Download the Proceedings (PDF 327KB) and the Case Studies (PDF 99KB).

Water Caucus Wshop

Climate Change - Resources

This easy-to-read, 4-page "beginners guide" to climate change. Climate Change and Global Warming (2011) by Heidee Swanby & Stephen Law, EMG, will tell you all you need to know.
... Ook in Afrikaans - 'n kort-en-kragtig, maklik om te lees stuk Klimaatverandering en Aardverwarming
NEW! NEW! isiXhosa...  Ukutshintsha kwemozulu kunye nesomiso

Want more? Download these Six Facts about climate change... then move on to A brief guide to Global Warming (2007) by Jessica Wilson & Stephen Law (published by Robinson, London). We have no more copies in stock, but it is available from Amazon and Goodreads in hard copy and e-book format.

EMG is part of the consortium responsible for planning, writing and launching this fantastic resource for anyone involved in community-based adaptation work. Participatory Adaptation Handbook : A practitioner's guide for facilitating people centred adaptation to climate change (3.1MB PDF) , and a set of facilitation cards Experiental Learning for Adaptation  (945KB). Alternatively contact us for a hard-copy (R100) while stocks last.

EMG has worked alongside small-scale rooibos farmers of the Suid-Bokkeveld for many years. Download this summary of our work and approach entitled Adaptation with a human face: Lessons learned from an ongoing adaptation and learning process (2012) by Noel Oettle, EMG (380KB) or contact us for a copy of the full report.

Into history? Download this 2-pager summary of the most important scientific and political milestones in the debate.... The Science and Politics of Climate Change - A summary timeline Stephen Law and Jessica Wilson 

These thoughs on how climate change may impact food security, were first presented to a Public Forum 2010 hosted by AIDC

This report was commissioned by Both ENDS, The Netherlands. The title says it all. The social and environmental consequences of coal mining in South Africa: A case study (2010) Victor Munnik, EMG