The 2017 State of the Nation address by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma may have been hit by controversy as opposition parties delayed his speech by more than an hour last night (Feb 9).

But water preservation, in a country hit by drought, was one of the earliest subjects during his hour-long speech, which started an hour and 20 minutes later than planned.

He told the assembly: "Government is working hard to ensure reliable bulk water supply in the various areas of the country to support economic growth whilst increasing access to vulnerable and rural municipalities.

"In an effort to curb the high water losses which in some municipalities far exceeds the national average which is currently at 37 per cent; about ten thousand unemployed youth are being trained as plumbers, artisans and water agents. More will be recruited this year to reach the total of fifteen thousand.

"We call upon municipalities to support the War on Leaks programme."

He also revealed that water saving was creating jobs: "During 2015/2016, more than sixty one thousand work opportunities were created through the Environmental Programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60 per cent of the beneficiaries were young people."

His comments comes amid growing concerns about water scarcity in the country and infrastructure inadequacy are said to escalate the need for effective water treatment chemicals.

As reported here just, three days ago, "A rise in environmental awareness is also accelerating the move away from conventional methods of water and wastewater treatment towards mechanical separation and biological methods."

“A decline in water levels and water quality, as a result of a threatening water crisis across South Africa, is prompting treatment chemical companies to invest in alternative water treatment methods,” says Frost & Sullivan VisionaryScience Practices Research Analyst, Justin Malherbe, tells CBN. “As a result, the opportunities for suppliers within the water and wastewater treatment chemicals market is expected to increase.”

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Industrial water and wastewater treatment chemicals market analysis in South Africa, forecast to 2020, finds that the market valued at $159.3m experienced a significant decline between 2013 and 2014 due to political and economic instability.

However, is expected to recover and reach $199m by 2020. The largest chemical segment in 2015 was coagulants and flocculants, with revenues of $59.8m. This segment is expected to be the slowest developing segment; however, will retain the largest market share in the forecast period. The ‘other’ chemicals segment is expected to be the fastest growing chemicals segment.