During the drought period of 1995, Rand Water established the “Forums” as a communication vehicle with its customers. The Forums are categorized into two categories, namely the “Water Services Forum” which caters for municipal customers and the “Mining and Industry Forums” which caters for mining and industry customers as well as direct consumers.
Since the establishment of the Forums, there have been new developments in the water sector, as well as changes in legislation that necessitated a critical review of Rand Water’s forums in the water supply value chain to comply with Legislation. This review is in line with Rand Water’s vision of being the provider of sustainable, universally competitive water and sanitation solutions for Africa.”
The Forums discuss topical water related issues such as Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), Water Supply Challenges, Climate Change and Water Demand Management but to name a few. In addition to topics discussed, the Forums arrange and embark on educational tours for Rand Water customers and stakeholders as a means of creating real-life experiences of the diverse nature of the water sector. In addition to the Forums being an education tool, Rand Water uses the Forums as a tariff consultation vehicle in line with the Bulk Water supply contract and section 42 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (No.56 of 2003). Rand Water sources specialists in the subject field to come and share information with the Forum members, and for members to ask questions from specialists. The topics are all water related with the aim of providing implementable and sustainable long-term solutions to water related challenges.
2. Objectives of the Forums
The objectives of the Forums:
To educate customers and stakeholders around water related matters
To consult customers and stakeholders on tariff matters
To create a platform of debate around water related challenges and issues
To facilitate the dissemination and sharing of information between various role players in the water services industry
To Identify opportunities to increase the effectiveness of the Forum
To provide advice and technical support on proposed activities that may impact the water services industry
Rand Water’s Forums are “Knowledge Sharing Centres”.
It is important that Rand Water builds strong partnerships with its customers and stakeholders. The Forums play a role in creating an environment wherein such partnerships can be formed. Partnerships are established with both public and private institutions.
The following stakeholders are members of the Forums:
· Department of Water and Sanitation
· Department Environmental Affairs
· Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
· Municipalities (District and Local in Rand Water’s area of supply)
· Chamber of Mines
· Direct consumers within Rand Water’s area of supply
· Other stakeholders include but not limited to (WRP, DBSA, WRC, CSIR, Weather SA)
Membership encompasses all stakeholders within Rand Water's area of supply. Decision-making and reporting back to the principals and various structures is an important part of the Forums. Each institution mandates representatives and also ensures that they attend and give constant feedback on the activities of the Forums.