A Palestinian girl carries water containers in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on June 3, 2024

The City of Tshwane and the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) signed an agreement on Monday to address water issues in the city.

The DWS will work with the City of Tshwane not only as a regulator but also provide expertise and funds to deal with problems like pollution in the Hennops River, issues with the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works and inadequate human resources.

Under this newly signed agreement, the department and the municipality will collaborate on things like infrastructure planning and development, water resource planning and infrastructure solutions and capacity building for the municipal officials.

The agreement was signed by Tshwane City Manager Johann Mettler and Deputy Director-General for Water and Sanitation Services Dr. Risimati Mathye at the city's headquarters in Tshwane House.

Both entities are close to finalizing a program to develop a flagship engineering candidacy development program, which involves sending candidate engineers to work with the City of Tshwane, as well as hiring professional engineers to work there for three years.

A group of engineers has already received training from the department. Moreover, the department will provide free mentoring through its mentor database to help candidate engineers get their professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

Once the program is up and running smoothly, it will help the city meet the new regulations set by ECSA Identification of Engineering Work Regulations.

"Addressing our major water challenges requires a collaborative effort between the city and key water stakeholders and the DWS is one of those key players," Mathye said, SA News reported.

He added, "We have been facing significant water challenges which have been affecting some of our residents for a longer period [and] some of these challenges can be linked to aging infrastructure and maintenance challenges at some of our Water Treatment Plants."

Mathye further expressed his joy to see the enthusiasm and determination shown by the city over this collaboration, noting that the department will ensure efficient services to the residents of Tshwane.

This partnership will help local government improve and achieve Sustainable Development Goals, especially the one that focuses on providing clean water and proper sanitation to communities.