The ultimate intention of the WaterCAN program is to have South Africa’s water management, planning and quality issues addressed by the relevant authorities, through the responsible and constructive use of accurate information, and enabling citizens to drive the process rather than rely on the State to do so – ultimately empowering and motivating citizens to understand their rights and to hold authorities to account.
The main pillars of the WaterCAN project includes:
- policy analysis
- awareness raising and citizen science.
This project can build networks, share data, train citizen scientists and build an activist approach to the protection of water resources in our country.
What do we hope to achieve?
The vision for this project is the securing of our water resources for the future in response to the challenges of climate change, corruption, government mismanagement and inequality.
It is envisaged that WaterCAN will build a network of citizen science activists to become water guardians and stewards.
WaterCAN will provide people and stakeholders with a credible updated platform and information portal on quality of water (drinking and river systems), and drive good governance and management of South Africa’s water resources by those in authority, who have been entrusted by the State and citizens, to do so.
How can this be done?
The WaterCAN project can:
- Provide an online platform tool (Water Quality Heat Map (WQHM) whereby citizens and communities / water forums are able to register and participate to upload testing results and information
- Identify and enrol water testing laboratories around the country that will follow the identified procedure for water sample testing
- Create a national network of existing and new Water Forums and Water Champions
- Ensure that where water quality standards in both rivers and drinking systems do not meet standards, that a prescribed and coordinated process is followed to have the issue addressed.
Why join WaterCAN?
Against the backdrop of many stakeholders being unable to access or trust the State’s information system on water quality in South Africa, using a “Citizen Science” approach that drives community participation, collaboration, we plan to introduce sustainable solutions which has the following aims:
- To build a water network and movement
- To increase citizen voices, collaboration, and participation in becoming the solution to the gathering of water quality information.
- Ensuring accuracy, transparency, and timeous publication of South Africa’s water quality information.
- To empower citizens, resident associations, community-based organisations, business forums, water forums and other interest groups through:
- Training and understanding of what their rights are.
- water quality testing
- Exposing issues that fall below standards and expectations.
- Building a network and using best practice in addressing identified issues.
- Engaging with the authorities.
- Building campaigns to expose and drive accountability action against errant councils and political authorities to rectify problems identified.
Securing of our water resources for the future in response to the challenges of climate change, corruption, government mismanagement and inequality.
Due to a lack of trustworthy and timeous water quality information (drinking and river systems), OUTA’s WaterCAN program uses a citizen science approach that empowers civil society to manage water quality testing, data and information for the ultimate purpose of driving corrective actions through accountability and advocacy, to protect South Africa’s water resources.
- Raise the level of civil society participation and action that seeks to ensure clean and safe water resources
- Democratise water quality information
- Hold authorities to account when standards and expected corrective actions are not being achieved.
- Provide a platform whereby citizens and communities / water forums are able to register and participate in an authentic and responsible manner, to give substance and gravity to the network and information sharing opportunities.
- To identify and enrol water testing laboratories around the country that will follow the identified procedure for water sample testing, as well as the uploading of results onto the Water Quality Heat Map (WQHM) platform, which will be integral to the storing and dissemination of all water quality information.
- Create a national network of existing and new Water Forums and Water Champions that will receive the necessary training, procedures, standard and best practise approach to participating in the program, providing them with tools to improve their roles, some of which will entail:
o To administer the water sampling and related processes for accurate testing.
o To identify “sponsors or enablers” of the water testing process who will fund: –
- The procurement of the Water Testing Kits,
- The courier and sample relocation costs to laboratories.
- The laboratory testing and sample results uploading into the database.
- To cover costs of other consumables and staff (where necessary) to carry our work on local programs identified.
- Ensure that where water quality standards in both rivers and drinking systems do not meet standards, that a prescribed and coordinated process is followed to have the issue addressed by the relevant authority, or to take the prescribed / necessary steps to hold them accountable.