Industries around the world (including South Africa) are beginning to understand the crucial role that water plays in production and profitability.

In the Eighties the Water Research Commission (WRC) and the (then) Department of Water Affairs embarked on a series of National Industrial Water and Wastewater Surveys (NATSURVs) for a number of industries. These so-called NATSURV reports played a significant role in focusing the attention on water and wastewater management in these sectors.

However, South Africa and its industrial sectors have either grown or in some cases shrunk considerably since the Eighties. The landscape has changed, and new technologies and systems have been adopted by some of the industries. Thus, some of the information contained in the national surveys can be considered out of date.

The recent awareness around the scarcity of water was seen as an opportune time to review the water and wastewater management practices of the different industrial sectors. The new round of NATSURVs is revisiting the original industrial sectors to provide a latter day comparison to determine whether improvements have been made in the area of industrial water management. To date a number of new NATSURVS have been published on the poultry, soft drink, sorghum beer, edible oil, and red meat abattoir industries to name a few.