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Water and energy in South Africa – managing scarcity

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  • Potgieter, Petrus H.
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    Abstract

    In this paper we examine the nexus of water an energy scarcity in South Africa. The fresh water resources of the country are close to exhaustion (Business Day, 2009; Turton, 2008)⁠, yet safe drinking water is not yet universally available to all in the country – in spite of a government policy to provide water for basic needs, taken to be 25ℓ per person per day (Coovadia, Jewkes, Barron, Sanders, & McIntyre, 2009)⁠. A growing economy and a population now close to 50 million have also put considerable strain on the electricity supply and distribution system, including wide-spread residential power outages in the main economic centers and, since January 2008, mandatory cuts for industrial users (Patel, 2008)⁠. The paper provides an overview of the current system in South Africa for supplying and managing water and electricity – for residential, industrial and for agricultural use – with a special emphasis on the energy requirements for delivering water as well as the water required in generating electric power. Finally we consider the example of Australia, another country with severe water shortages and one with a comparable demand for electricity, and attempt to draw lessons for South Africa from Australia’s more market-driven approach to energy and water.

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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23360.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23360

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    Keywords: Water; energy; South Africa;

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    1. Lynne Chester, 2006. "THE CONUNDRUMS FACING AUSTRALIA's NATIONAL ELECTRICITY MARKET," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 25(4), pages 362-377, December.
    2. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
    3. Heaney, Anna & Dwyer, Gavan & Beare, Stephen & Peterson, Deborah C. & Pechey, Lili, 2006. "Third-party effects of water trading and potential policy responses," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(3), September.
    4. Rio Carrillo, Anna Mercè & Frei, Christoph, 2009. "Water: A key resource in energy production," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4303-4312, November.
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    6. Ziramba, Emmanuel, 2008. "The demand for residential electricity in South Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3460-3466, September.
    7. Peter Perkins & Johann Fedderke & John Luiz, 2005. "An Analysis Of Economic Infrastructure Investment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(2), pages 211-228, 06.
    8. Jorge Agüero & Michael R. Carter & Julian May, 2007. "Poverty and Inequality in the First Decade of South Africa's Democracy: What can be Learnt from Panel Data from KwaZulu-Natal?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 782-812, November.
    9. Friedman, Milton, 2002. "Capitalism and Freedom," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226264202, April.
    10. Berry, Carolyn A. & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Meroney, William A. & O'Neill, Richard P. & StewartJr, William R., 1999. "Understanding how market power can arise in network competition: a game theoretic approach," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 139-158, September.
    11. Winkler, Harald, 2005. "Renewable energy policy in South Africa: policy options for renewable electricity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 27-38, January.
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