South Africa is facing severe water supply and water quality problems as a result of its limited water resources and other complicating factors. Adequately educated and trained water practitioners are needed to address these problems to ensure economic prosperity and a reasonable standard of living for all South Africans. Training and education needs are analysed in this paper and available programmes and initiatives to deliver the water practitioners needed are discussed. The main areas where training and education is needed include education at community level to educate local water committee members and community support personnel; training of technical staff to operate and maintain water treatment and supply schemes; and education of high-level scientists and engineers to develop new technologies, to improve performance, design and management of processes, plant and projects.

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