National Water Resources Strategy

Posted on 17 Dec 2020

Water is an important source for any land and society, as no life without water is possible. Water has a unique position in terms of other natural resources as life cannot survive in the absence of water, but can survive without the other sources (Noaman, 2013). Water use is an important priority and critical to the maintenance of the national economy and the country’s national development and growth goals (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:51).


Water resources are managed by knowing where water occurs, the quality and quantity of water as well as the variability of water in the future. Freshwater is an essential element for life on the planet states Stewart (2015:80).


Due to the scarcity and demand on water, government sets industry limitations on the extent of the use of water in terms of quantity and quality, the main focus being that of achieving effective and beneficial use of water and on minimising the pollution of the resources. As a result, municipalities, the private sector and public owners are making significant investments in reducing water usage and improving effluent quality compliance” (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:100).


Water resource management has a requirement for good management of the country’s scarce water sources. Without proper management, the efficiency and effectiveness of water management will never be obtained. Good water management requires water co-operation, incorporated water development, sensible water use, formation of operative water establishments and the centrality of water (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:102).


According to the National Water Act (Act no. 36 of 1998) the target of the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS) is the facilitation of the management of the country’s water resources. It determines the framework for the use, improvement, protection, control and managing of water resources. The NWRS gives information regarding the features of water resource management (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:1).


South Africa is the 30th most water scarce country as stated by the Department of Water Affairs (2012). The NWRS 2 has a goal which is to manage water effectively and efficiently for sustainable development and growth (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:12).


An essential concern in water resource management is the quality of water (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:19). The values attached to water are economical, ecological as well as social (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:47). Important aspects of water management are the data collection and analysis on the information regarding water (Department of Water Affairs, 2013:91).


Strategic themes of the 2013 National Water Resources Strategy


The purpose of the strategic themes is to determine the objectives of the 2013 NWRS. These themes address the country’s developmental and economic priorities as well as the challenges that could adversely affect the vision of 2030. The strategic themes address issues regarding the management, development, usage, control and the protection of water resources and react to priorities (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). There are seven themes that are discussed below.


Theme 1: Water resources planning, development and infrastructure Management


This theme deals with the maintenance and correctly managed water source infrastructure available to the environment, economic and social water use necessities of South Africa (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16).


Theme 2: Water resource protection


To confirm that the aquatic ecosystem is effectively preserved at different and necessary levels (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). To maintain water resource conservation, sustainable water must be left in the rivers in order to restore the ecosystem’s function, the quality of the resource must be preserved and there must be development in the social and economy progress (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 43).


Theme 3: Equitable water allocation


To locate water so that poor and disadvantaged South Africans can gain access to water to grow economically and socially (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). The National Water Policy implemented principles which include the control, usage, protection, growth, managing and maintenance of water resources. These principles are efficiency, sustainability and equity (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 45). The capacity development programmes support the water location practices and encourage the use of water to raise awareness of the responsible and suitable usage of water (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 48).


Theme 4: Water conservation and water demand management


To achieve the economic and social requirements of South Africa by saving water in all the sectors through the implementation of suitable water preservation and water management (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). The establishment of a strategy at a water institution is the water demand management to influence water use and demand to achieve the resulting objectives: social development, economic efficiency, social equity, sustainability of water resources, the protection of the environment and political and service adequacy (Department of Water Affairs, 2013). The first step to be applied in reconciliation studies is the Water Conservation and Water Demand Management (WCWDM) (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 54). The required linkage between Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and WCWDM is provided by the national WCWDM. It is an essential fragment of the development processes for water services and resources (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 56).


Theme 5: Regulation


To regulate the water sector by improving the ability of the DWA so that objectives can be obtained from the government, the consumer and resources can be protected, and the sustainability of water institutes can be confirmed (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). It offers a general vision and direction for the institutional context for water resource management. The emerging models allow water sector institutions to contribute to the objectives of the Government by addressing the changes that need to be taken (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 59).


Theme 6: Managing water resources for climate change


The impact of changed climate on the environment, quality of life and water resources and to react to and plan around the changing climate (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). To ensure the reasonable and sustainable use, conservation, development and protection of water resources, regulations target to change the behaviour of the water institutions and users (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 70). The improvement of compliance by water institutions and users is a regulation objective which includes authorisations as well as rules (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 73).


Theme 7: International cooperation and trans-boundary water Management


The implementation of IWRM that complies with international water protocols and the legislation regarding the governing of water (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 16). It is expected that South Africa will be affected by climate change and it will in turn affect the people and produce consequences for the ecosystems and the economy (Department of Water Affairs, 2013; 75).