South African National Water Act

Note:

The Government of South Africa enacted new legislation relating to water resources at the end of 1998. The National Water Act completely replaced previous water law and introduced several new measures. Riparian water rights were replaced by an administrative allocation system, all water is considered similarly in the new Act as part of the hydrological cycle, whereas previously groundwater and surface water were treated differently. Other important innovations were the introduction of the "Reserve" which set aside water for basic human needs and the environment, and provision for the establishment of Catchment Management Agencies.

Developing and adopting new legislation is one thing - implementing it is quite another. One difficult question for example, is how is the environmental Reserve determined? The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has been working on this and is in the process of preparing a set of documents for use in determining the Reserve.

These documents are of interest beyond the particular circumstances of South Africa.

The set of documents on Resource Directed Measures (RDM) for protection of water resources, issued in September 1999 in Version 1.0, presents the procedures to be followed in undertaking preliminary determinations of the class, Reserve and resource quality objectives for water resources, as specified in sections 14 and 17 of the South African National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998).

The 5 documents which are currently available include:

  • Volume 2: Resource Directed Measures - Integrated Manual

  • Volume 3: Resource Directed Measures - River Ecosystems

  • Volume 4: Resource Directed Measures - Wetland Ecosystems

  • Volume 5: Resource Directed Measures - Estuarine Ecosystems

  • Volume 6: Resource Directed Measures - Groundwater Component


(3) Please note that version 1.0 has only been provided in Microsoft Word 7 format. The official version 1.1 will also be provided in Acrobat format. We are not exactly techno-wizards on the RDM project team, so please bear with us in this respect.

(4) CD-ROM discs may be made available if necessary. People who are not able to access the documents via the internet can contact Heather MacKay deh@dwaf.pwv.gov.za for more information.

About the Documents

Version 1.0 of the RDM procedures is for internal use within the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. It is a set of working documents which will be updated on a regular basis. This version retains editor's comments in certain places in the text. Version 1.1 is expected to be published in December 1999, and will be released for public comment and discussion. All technical queries and comments related to Version 1.0 should be addressed to:

Dr Heather MacKay,
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry,
Private Bag X313,
Pretoria 0001,
South Africa
Tel +27 12 336 8222
Fax+27 12 336 8678
email deh@dwaf.pwv.gov.za

The full set of documents will contain 15 volumes, as follows:

  • Volume 1: Resource Directed Measures - Summary of Policy (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 2: Resource Directed Measures - Integrated Manual

  • Volume 3: Resource Directed Measures - River Ecosystems

  • Volume 4: Resource Directed Measures - Wetland Ecosystems

  • Volume 5: Resource Directed Measures - Estuarine Ecosystems

  • Volume 6: Resource Directed Measures - Groundwater Component

  • Volume 7: Resource Directed Measures - Basic Human Needs (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 8: Resource Directed Measures - Classification System for Water Resources (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 9: Resource Directed Measures - Study Manager's Manual (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 10: Resource Directed Measures - Implementation Strategy (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 11: Resource Directed Measures - Crocodile River Pilot Study 1998 (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 12: Resource Directed Measures - Pienaars River Pilot Study 1999 (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 13: Resource Directed Measures - Communication Strategy (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 14: Resource Directed Measures - Capacity Building Strategy (to be included in Version 1.1)

  • Volume 15: Resource Directed Measures - Project Management Summary (to be included in Version 1.1)