South Africa is facing huge political decisions around the allocation of water. If investments were shifted to essentially 'water-free' renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, this would drastically reduce the water required for electricity generation, deliver sustainable electricity to all South Africans, create jobs and help avoid water insecurity and conflict.
"It is still possible to pull back from the brink of crisis, but only if the right choices are made today.* *It is time to end the era of coal in South Africa through a just transition away from coal towards renewable energy. Our ability to deal with a changing climate and future water crisis depends on it. The South African government and Eskom must realise that there are very effective substitutes for coal, but there are no alternatives to water", concluded Steele.
1. Based on access to the minimum 25 litres of water per day.
2. The report 'Water hungry coal' is available online:
This report builds on the report 'Coal's hidden water cost to South
Africa', published in June this year
3. Bhagwan, J. 2012. Press Release: Water scarcity - an unresolved issue in many parts of the country leads to protests over service delivery. Water Research Commission. Available online: