Deadline extended for comment: National Water Resource Strategy [NWRS-2]

Call for comments opened 08 April 2013 Share this page:

Water and Sanitation

The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs invites all interested stakeholders to submit written comments on the National Water Resource Strategy [NWRS-2]


A number of countries are grappling with water resources management at a time of enormous pressures on water resources. This is further compounded in many developing countries by the need for the efficient and sustainable use of water for economic growth and social equity, the fair allocation of water to users, the decentralised and participatory governance of water to users, and dealing with threats to our scarce water. Business, governments and policy makers are grappling with issues on how to not only increase the supply but also to improve the productivity of current resources.

South Africa too faces a number of complex challenges: a semiarid country with low rainfall, limited underground aquifers, and reliance on water transfers from neighbouring countries. Water availability is now seen as a national development constraint. The 2004 National Water Resource Strategy viewed this as a possibility and the 2011 Diagnostic Report of the National Planning Commission stresses this by stating that as water use approaches 40 percent of average annual availability, South Africa will face a binding water constraint. The Diagnostic Report further states that the implementation of these reforms is proving to be challenging, given the diverse and complex nature of the country's water resources and their use.

One of the ways in which South Africa addresses issues of water resource management is for the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs to give strategic direction for water resources management in the country. This is reflected in the National Water Resource Strategy 2, 2012. The National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998, gives the National Water Resource Strategy its legal force. The first edition of the NWRS -1 was published in 2004 and set out the 'blueprint' for water resources management in the country for the first time.

Cabinet on 10 August 2012 approved the gazetting of the draft National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS-2) for input and comments. The NWRS-2 sets out the strategic direction for water resources management in the country over the next 20 years, with a particular focus on priorities and objectives for the period 2013 – 2017. It provides the framework for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of water resources for South Africa, as well as the framework within which water must be managed at catchment level, in defined water management areas. It is binding on all authorities and institutions exercising powers or performing duties under the National Water Act, 1998.

The following key drivers underpin the NWRS-2:

· Value driven water management within a human rights approach;

· Democratising water management through a sector-wide approach and also giving citizens a voice to participate in the process;

· Working toward developmental water management by integrating water strategies and water planning and also to regulate high impact user whilst providing support for small users;

· Addressing governance failures; and

· Working on a paradigm shift in the water sector – from a technically driven approach to a value driven approach and from resource development to improved governance and new technology.

Public hearings will be held in Parliament from 23 October to 2 November 2012

Comments can be emailed to Ms Tyhileka Madubela at late Thursday, 18 October 2012

Enquiries can be directed to Ms Tyhileka Madubela on tel: (021) 403 3713 or cell: 083 304 9586