Archives and records are the tools that facilitate transparency, accountability and preserve collective
social memory. They provide the mirror revealing governance, providing administrative and technical
measuring instruments to ascertain the contexts and consequences of intended objectives, such as the
promulgation and execution of water related policies. South Africa faces a water crisis and concerns
exist about the governance of water affairs. Concerns and prospects for the creation of a water archive
have been recommended. The prospects that such an initiative could provide is for better care and
preservation of water-related records, including records on water services, water conservation and
demand management currently across national government, municipalities and twelve water boards.
The concept of the archives being an area storing dusty documents is being transformed, with the aid of
technology. Through the digital environment, an archive can integrate hardcopy and digital material in
a sustainable manner, accessible to a wide-range of researchers both within the archival institution and
virtually to a different place and time zone. A dedicated “water archive” capturing and preserving water
related information sources would provide water sector managers, engineers, scientists, researchers
and administrators, with effective access to water-related information sources, as well as opportunities
to contribute to the sustainability and further expansion of this archive.