Compliance implementation of Water Use Licences in terms of the South African National Water Act

Posted on 4 Nov 2021

The South African National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) (NWA) as published four (4) years after the first democratic election, aimed at fundamentally reforming the Water Act, Act 54 of 1956. The NWA is considered as one of the most progressive pieces of legislation on water management, towards setting of an integrated water resource management system which provides the legal framework for the effective and sustainable management of water resources. The NWA aims to protect, use, develop, conserve, manage and control water resources through balancing social benefit, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability.


Based on the aforenoted, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has overall responsibility for and authority over water resource management within South Africa. This includes the equitable allocation and beneficial use of water in the public interest and associated issuance of a Water Use Licences (WUL). In terms of an issued WUL, various commitments are included to the Licence Holder for implementation as assessed through the specified internal and external licence audits. Examples include:


  • Monitoring of water resources (surface, groundwater and related aquatic systems);
  • Expansion of monitoring programmes for impact prediction;
  • Minimisation of water use volumes and optimisation of water recycling and re-use;
  • Compilation of site specific programmes:
    • Integrated Water and Waste Management Plan (IWWMP);
    • Rehabilitation Strategy Implementation Plan (RSIP);
    • Wetland Rehabilitation Plan (WRP); and
    • Financial Provision.


The application of a WUL, and implementation of related requirements are considered a legal obligation to limit impacts on water users and resources. The integration of the requirements strive to provide for sustainable system optimisation and protection of not only water resources but the overall environment.


ENVASS as a multi-disciplinary service provider comprises of several experienced consultants within diverse divisions who can assist with WUL Applications, and related WUL commitment specialist works. If you require a solution-driven proposal for these services, please do not hesitate to contact our highly qualified specialists at ENVASS on 012 460 9768 or