Market intelligence

GreenCape's Water Sector Market Intelligence Report highlights business opportunities for water in the green economy in the Western Cape. It targets investors and entrepreneurs interested in the business of water, and seeks to promote the Western Cape as the leading place to do business in the green economy.

Opportunities: fast facts

The biggest drivers behind the uptake of green water technologies and practices in South African are rising water resource and utility costs; growing resource scarcity (intensified by environmental change); increased business risks and compliance requirements; and increasing consumer demand for more sustainable and environmentally sensitive products.

On average, drinking water costs R7.50 per m3, making the total addressable market for unlocking water resources worth between R7.5 and R22.5 billion per year (GreenCape analysis). During our engagement with stakeholders in water technology, management and use along with other areas of the green economy, we identified several opportunities. These include:

Water reuse, recycling and resource recovery

  • is becoming increasingly understood and adopted, especially by water-intensive industrial and commercial users. Advanced treatment technologies are developing rapidly, while increased competition and demand are providing more solutions that make business sense. There are opportunities for the manufacture, assembly and supply of treatment and reuse components and systems; and in services and products related to industrial symbiosis.

Energy used for water treatment and conveyance, and water used for energy generation 

  • presents many opportunities for innovation and investment. Drivers include growing challenges to water and energy security; developments in renewable energy technology; and the rising cost of water and energy

Understanding and managing consumption by utilities and end-users

  • is the vital first step towards holistic water conservation and demand management. There is a rapidly expanding market for technical solutions that measure, report and control water consumption at all scales of use.

Development of local water resources

  • regional surface water resources are almost fully allocated, driving investments into development of local water resources. These include rain, storm and greywater; new groundwater resources; managed aquifer recharge; as well as brackish and seawater desalination.

Reducing municipal water losses 

  • a national priority, and significant resource and financial benefits can be realized at any urban and system scale.

GreenCape’s work in this space

GreenCape's water programme concentrates on two broad areas: firstly, we aim to improve the productive use of water to support sustainable economic development; secondly, we promote the uptake of green technologies and businesses. Our overall goal is to increase job creation and investment into green water technology and services, and to improve water resource productivity.

We do this through our market research and intelligence activities; by networking and matchmaking businesses; through cleantech advocacy; and research into the economic opportunities and constraints of water.

Key reading

The resources listed here are essential reading, which provide a greater overview of the opportunities in this sector. For other related tools, resources and information see the Library below. 

Nexus trade-offs and strategies for addressing the water, agriculture and energy security nexus in Africa (2015)

Western Cape sustainable water management plan (2012)

For more water related resources, please view our Library.

News and events

GreenCape is recruiting a Water Sector Desk Analyst

The Western Cape is a water scarce region, and there is a growing need for technologies and solutions that improve the efficiency of water use and management of water quality. Read more

GreenCape is recruiting a GIS Analyst (initial 5-month contract)

GreenCape is currently running a 3-year project titled: “Towards Sustainable Economic Development in Water Constrained Catchments: Tools to Empower Decision Making”. Read more


SA Business Funding Directory

This directory (link on the left) provides South African businesses and entrepreneurs with information on available business funding particularly for small and medium sized businesses. Read more

Useful links on the Western Cape's green economy

Useful links below on the Western Cape's green economy. Read more