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 our business support page

For more water related resources, please view our library.

News and events

Request for Business Input towards Western Cape Drought Economic Impact Survey

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) have commissioned an Economic Impact Survey in response to the ongoing drought. Read more

Wesgro and GreenCape host Dialogue on the Strengthening of the Cape Water Sector

On 26 March 2018, Wesgro and GreenCape hosted a dialogue engagement to discuss how best to turn the water crisis into an opportunity for economic growth and job creation in... Read more


GreenCape hosts event: Opportunities for groundwater use in the Western Cape

On the 6th of December, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town hosted a groundwater information event.  Topics of discussion included an overview of groundwater resources in... Read more

City of Cape Town hosts drought crisis plumber's forum

On the 29th of November, the City of Cape Town hosted a drought crisis meeting and exhibition event. The event was an opportunity for plumbers, as well as those involved with... Read more