The Committee heard submissions from the University of Cape Town Urban Water Management, the Centre for Environmental Rights, the Gauteng Water Caucus, Green Peace and the Energy Intensive Users Group on the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS 2).
UCT’s Urban Water Management submission was entitled ‘Towards water sensitive urban settlements – integrating design, planning and management of South Africa’s towns and cities’ and the main concern of the submission was urban water. No consideration was given in the NWRS 2 to the concept of 'fit-for-purpose' or ‘full water management cycle’ in the urban context. A statement and strategy to address these concepts would be helpful. Too little attention was given to the significant impacts and consequences of urban runoff/stormwater and the potential to use strategies such as Sustainable Urban Drainage. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and its principles/strategies were discussed.
The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) focused on legal and regulatory aspects. There was a lack of transparency in water governance. If information was made available to compile reports, this could actually assist the Department in developing strategies for promoting more compliant behaviour.
Looking at civil and administrative penalties, it was very difficult to get prosecution, penalties were too low and insufficient as a deterrent. She suggested there be civil and administrative penalties akin to the Competition Tribunal where people have to prove their case. This should accompany law reform. International cases had shown that it was quicker and more effective. The Water Tribunal was not in the NWRS yet it was a key aspect of the National Water Act (NWA), crucial for civil society and a key aspect of the regulatory system.
The Gauteng Water Caucus focused on Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), water quality and sewerage pollution. They particularly concerned about the water quality in the townships of Gauteng and about sewerage pollution. SA needed appropriate waste and pollution water management, a proper approach to AMD and for the Department to take action especially for funding. There was great potential for job creation.
Green Peace said the strategy did not adequately take into account the major water-use implications of new coal-fired power stations. Shifts away from coal and towards renewable energy and more ambitious energy efficiency plans would save significant amounts of water. In one second, Eskom used the same amount of water as a single person would use in one year. Per unit of electricity produced, Kusile would use 173 times as much water as wind power would. There was a lack of transparency about water. Information about water management plans and water licences remained confidential, with access restricted. Of the 22 mines that supplied Eskom with coal, half were operating without a valid water licence in 2010. South Africans had a right to know how water was being allocated, managed and polluted.
The solution to water-use impacts in the electricity sector was in renewable technologies as the majority used substantially lower amounts of water than coal-fired electricity generation. Wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) were virtually ‘water-free’ technologies. Recommendations were that South Africa shouldimmediately prioritise renewable energy over water intensive coal-fired electricity, improve the management of water resources and ensure that Eskom immediately began to shift significant investments towards renewable energy. DWA information on water management plans, the prioritisation of water supply to strategic users and water use licences were made public, conduct a strict and robust water demand assessment for the Kusile coal-fired power station, and any other kind of coal expansion in South Africa, ensure that mines operating without valid water use licences were suspended with immediate effect until valid licences were in place and they must produce proof that South Africa was not already at the limits of the water that can be allocated.
The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) submission looked at policy challenges, policy debates, administrative issues in water, private sector/water users and decentralisation, water conservation and demand management, information and knowledge, financial dimensions, critical questions, the state of water in SA and recommendations. said the NWRS2 was not a strategy but rather sought to open up more policy debate. The NWRS2 identified 11 core strategies, seven technical strategies, four governance strategies, four enabling strategies and 79 “Key Strategic Activities”. There was much duplication, too few actionable plans were proposed, there was a lack of timeframes or assignation of responsibilities and although the NWRS2 effectively outlined the strategies needed to develop a strategy, there was no clear differentiation between facts, objectives, strategies and plans. NWRS2 was fixing what was not broken and not fixing what was broken. Old policy challenges were renewed and what was missing was a discussion of the experience to date. NWRS2 contained a wide range of ideas and proposals, often with little evidence to underpin them and not always coherently or consistently presented which made it difficult to draw firm conclusions. EIUG recommendations were for greater focus, prioritisation and clarity, clear focussed interventions, not a collection of the latest policy fashions and the establishment of institutions and systems to manage the difficult process of reallocating water between competing users, and operating the national water infrastructure in a technically and financially sustainable manner.
The Committee found these submissions very useful and hoped the Department was making notes for its responses on some issues once the hearings were complete.
The Chairperson said that when the hearings were finished, the Committee would look over all the issues and whatever was agreed by the Members would be put to the Department to accommodate. He hoped the process of public participation would create a stronger document. He noted the Director General’s presence and the presence of very senior Department officials.
He noted that hearings would be held over two weeks and the Committee were still accepting submissions. Each meeting would hear five or six submissions a day. The Committee would meet for three days next week. He thanked everyone for submissions made thus far.
Urban Water Management (UPM) University Of Cape Town submission
Dr Kevin Winter, lead researcher, said the Urban Water Management were a multi-disciplinary team representing engineers, environmental science, social anthropology, political science and economics. The submission was entitled: ‘Towards water sensitive urban settlements – integrating design, planning and management of South Africa’s towns and cities’ and he said his students would be using the document and noted it helped them to keep their eye on the ball as to how things were progressing. He said he found it hard to combine the core with the action strategies in the NWRS, and it was difficult to form links. He noted the main concern in their submission was on urban water.
Looking at Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), Dr Winter noted that it was a multi-disciplined approach to urban water management aimed at managing the urban water cycle in a more sustainable manner so as to improve water security. It considered the environment in conjunction with infrastructure planning, design and management at the earliest possible stage of any decision-making process. On the influence of WSUD on the urban water cycle, he emphasised the use of storm water and fit for purpose water which could be used for a variety of functions. All water was an opportunity and not a threat. A descriptive understanding of WSUD could be thought of as mitigating water scarcity, improving water quality, thereby protecting ecosystems, through the development of water sensitive urban areas (for all) that were sustainable, resilient and adaptable to environmental, climate and social changes, while simultaneously being a place where people want to live.
Dr Winter said the principles/ strategies of WSUD were to first create sustainable water supply options through water conservation / demand management, alternative water sources such as rainwater / storm water harvesting or aquifer storage. The second principle/strategy was wastewater minimisation through quality improvement and the use of treated wastewater / recycled water. The third principle/strategy was storm water management through SUDs (Sustainable Urban Drainage) and the enhancement of amenities and biodiversity. He used the Green Point Park in Cape Town as an example. Yet there were other areas, at the same time, which needed serious attention.
There were many benefits to WSUD – for city officials there were costs and ease of maintenance, for politicians, there was the provision of basic services and job creation, for private developers there was increased profit and public image, for community groups there was job creation and public health and safety, for environmental groups there was protection of the environment and for individuals, there were additional costs but benefits per household.
Mr J Skosana (ANC) was pleased with the presentation. He questioned how the rural areas would be brought on board with the urban strategy they presented.
Dr Winter said that it was not the intention to separate the rural from the urban, in terms of catchment areas as water flowed through both areas. He did not want to get caught in a debate on the rural areas as a very specific strategy needed to be applied in rural environments. He said he could come back with a further response.
Mr G Morgan (DA) asked if there were examples of municipal managers embracing the philosophy or working on the same kind of concepts as the Urban Water Management. He wanted a glimpse of the number of graduates the unit was turning out which then went on to work in the water sector. He also wanted their comments on the remediation of infrastructure and where retro-fitting would fit in. He questioned the most common mistakes water planners and engineers made that could be changed at minimal cost.
Mr Lloyd Fisher-Jeffes, engineer and PhD researcher, said there were a number of departments in municipalities and there were sometimes problems of integration. He used the example of eThekwini and the non-harvesting of storm water and the disconnect between the storm water department and other departments.
Dr Winter said there was a plea for the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to provide local authorities with support in trying to deal with water that crossed many departments as this was a major challenge in water management.
Dr Winter said in terms of skills, there were wonderful opportunities for students to engage in water related careers.
Dr Winter said, in terms of the remediation and retro-fitting of existing infrastructure, that studies had shown that households with swimming pools used 37% more water than houses without them and a good example of retro-fitting would be to use storm tanks so that storm water could be used to top up a pool. This could also apply to gardening and was the kind of retro-fitting that was easy to introduce.
The Chairperson asked why this did not happen as it was a simple idea and in no-one’s interest not to do it.
Dr Winter said there was no incentive to use or harvest storm-water. He added there was a lack of knowledge and a cost factor to consider as it would be expensive to convert the system. There was poor incentive-driven policies and they needed to be thought about cleverly.
The Chairperson said that incentives were important. He though it was crazy, in the case of swimming pools, to throw tonnes of chemicals into clean water.
Dr Winter added knowledge was also important and to get people to the point of making ethical decisions.
Dr Winter said the mistakes of engineers and planners were in the placement of houses and properties in and around flood-plains. Planning was key to rethinking cities although a lot of the damage had been done. He used Melbourne in Australia as an example of a city re-thinking their planning after being affected by a flood and where people where living. Different paradigms needed to be explored from a wide range of disciplines.
The Chairperson wanted their comments and suggestions on the move of sanitation from DWA to the Department of Human Settlements (DHS). He felt the issue of sanitation had really stagnated.
Ms Kirsty Carden, UWM research assistant, said that it removed sanitation from integrated thinking and even though it was easier to separate the two in terms of housing, it disturbed the integration of the water cycle.
Dr Winter shared an anecdote and said that one could never seek out water if one did not start with housing first which meant the two could not be separated.
The Chairperson said there a strange disconnect with policy in DWA while the execution was carried out by the DHS. He expected the Department to address these issues once the hearings were completed particularly the storm water matter.
Centre For Environmental Rights (CER) submission
Ms Melissa Fourie, CER Director, noted the CER submission would focus more on legal and regulatory aspects. She mentioned the CER document, “Stop Treading Water” and some of the findings on water licensing, challenges, democratisation of water management and Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) and CMA forums, service delivery, the need for strategic monitoring and compliance enforcement and challenges of the Water Tribunal.
She turned to transparency in water governance, noting the great difficulty civil society faced in accessing information. Civil society felt disempowered given the huge problem of non-compliance with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and the general unwillingness to make information known. This particular issue was not clear in the NWRS. If information was made available to compile reports, this could actually assist the Department and promote more compliant behaviour.
Looking at civil and administrative penalties, she said there was a lot more to be done. She stressed that it was very difficult to get prosecution, penalties were too low and insufficient as a deterrent. She suggested there be civil and administrative penalties akin to the Competition Tribunal where people have to prove their case. This would accompany law reform and institutional creation. International cases had shown that it was quicker and more effective in handing down penalties.
Ms Fourie found it interesting that the Water Tribunal was not in the NWRS as it was a key aspect of the National Water Act (NWA), crucial for civil society and a key aspect of the regulatory system. She wanted more information on this.
The Chairperson asked if the CER had engaged the Department on their compliance with PAIA.
Ms Fourie said they had had several meetings and she gave the Department credit for taking it seriously. She noted it was a big department and messages took a while to filter through to everyone.
The Chairperson mentioned the interesting case of a judgement in Mpumalanga given to him by the CER on a plea agreement where all the monies involved where given to environmental organisations. He wanted to engage the National Prosecuting Authority on this.
Mr Morgan questioned the Water Tribunal not appearing in the NWRS Two. He sought practical examples of the mediation process. The issue would be flagged for discussion with the Department at a later stage.
Ms Fourie was not sure if the mediation had started, and noted the delay caused by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. She understood there were some mediators appointed. She noted there were problems of information exchange and other aspects she was concerned about.
The Chairperson asked if there were comparable examples of where issues of water were dealt with under a similar institution like the Competition Tribunal.
Ms Fourie noted the USA had a well established system since the 1970s with a well published penalty calculation formula and fairly high levels of compliance under the Clean Water Act. This was also seen in the UK across the regulatory sector. Cases were usually settled quickly.
The Chairperson asked if such a system were introduced, would the Water Tribunal be done with.
Ms Fourie said no, it would be used as the first body that would levy the penalty.
Ms J Manganye (ANC) questioned the issue of free licensing. She thought that payment was better and would ensure better looking after of infrastructure.
Ms Fourie said in many countries, people paid large amounts of money for licensing, judging against certain criteria and annual assessments. Money was used to fund compliance activities. There was scope for this in terms of water issues.
Gauteng Water Caucus (GWC) submission
Ms Judith Taylor, GWC co-ordinater, said the Gauteng Water Caucus (consisted of a number of organisations which started in August 2011. She was particularly concerned about the water quality in the townships of Gauteng. The main challenge was the level of pollution from a variety of sources.
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) was another key concern for the GWC in many areas. The AMD had effects on women, children and animals, and polluted food (water from irrigation). She was worried that AMD water would only be partially treated and the effect this would have on the rivers. This water must be treated properly and suitably. There was a real need for DWA to be at the apex of all decisions around the use of water by mines, particularly.
Ms Taylor raised a concern about sewerage pollution noting that SA needed cleaner and healthier environments for communities as the pollution had effects on people, animals and foods and got into the fresh water infrastructure as was the case in Sebokeng. SA needed appropriate waste and pollution water management, a proper approach to AMD and for the Department to take action especially for funding. There was great potential for job creation.
Mr Skosana asked what input the GWC could make on what the Department was doing. More people needed to be involved to meet the objectives of the country, collectively.
Mr Morgan asked for comments on the management reports produced by the Department like the Green Drop Report in terms of waste water management. He also wanted to know the experience of activists in engaging the regulator in the areas in which they worked, whether it was the relevant municipality or DWA.
Ms Manganye said the Working For Water programme needed to be emphasised to increase the knowledge of people on the ground in cleaning the rivers.
The Chairperson asked the opinion of GWC on water being separated from sanitation.
Ms Taylor replied that the Blue and Green Drop Reports were excellent but activists had great difficulty in dealing with officials on an effective and positive level and there was no knowledge of how communities could attain that status. The Working for Water programme was good but there were some instances of it not working too well as seen when people clearing out invasive plants dumped them in the rivers. The relationship with the Department can be improved but there was a reluctance to engage communities in the work of DWA. A joint effort could make a significant difference.
Green Peace submission
Ms Ferial Adam, energy and climate change activist, said the key element of NWRS was water availability which was now seen as a national development constraint and safe, affordable and accessible water was regarded as one of our planet’s scarcest natural resources. However, the strategy did not adequately take into account the major water-use implications of new coal-fired power stations. Shifts away from coal and towards renewable energy and more ambitious energy efficiency plans would save significant amounts of water.
Ms Adams said the electricity sector, dominated by Eskom, was frequently said to consume ‘only’ about 1.76% of national water but this was misleading. If water was included in the process of coal extraction, processing, the pollution reduction processes and the disposal of contaminated by-products, then it was estimated that the process actually required approximately 4.84% of national water supply – more than double the original statistic. Eskom was the only recognised ‘strategic water user’ of national importance in South Africa but the utility’s water-use for its coal-fired power stations would push this country closer to a water crisis. Eskom itself admitted that in the process of generating electricity, the utility was a significant user of the country’s freshwater, using a staggering 10 000 litres of water per second. In one second, Eskom used the same amount of water as a single person would use within one year, based on access to the minimum 25 litres of water per day.
Turning to transparency in water, she noted most of this information regarding water management plans and water licences remained confidential, with access restricted. Of the 22 mines that supplied Eskom with coal, half were operating without a valid water licence in 2010. South Africans had a right to know how water was being allocated, managed and polluted.
In terms of the hidden water costs of coal, each year that it operated, Kusile would cost taxpayers as much as R60 billion a year in hidden costs. The externality costs of Kusile were in fact dominated by water use impacts. A study found that over R40 billion a year of Kusile’s hidden costs actually came from water use impacts.Per unit of electricity produced, Kusile would use 173 times as much water as wind power would.
Ms Adams said that for smart development, new investments must be made into water resources infrastructure and there must be a shift away from coal and towards renewable energy, which would create jobs, stimulate the economy and reduce the country’s contribution to catastrophic climate change but this shift must be made urgently, and ambitiously. There were very effective alternatives to coal, but there were no alternatives to water.
The solution to water-use impacts in the electricity sector was in renewable technologies as the majority used substantially lower amounts of water than coal-fired electricity generation. Wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) were virtually ‘water-free’ technologies. It was our responsibility to consider these alternatives given the high opportunity costs.
Ms Adams said the recommendations of Green Peace were that the South African government shouldimmediately prioritise renewable energy over water intensive coal-fired electricity, improve the management of water resources and ensure that Eskom immediately began to shift significant investments towards renewable energy. DWA should ensure that information around water management plans, reconciliation studies, the prioritisation of water supply to strategic users and water use licences were made public, conduct a strict and robust water demand assessment for the Kusile coal-fired power station, and any other kind of coal expansion in South Africa, ensure that mines operating without valid water use licences were suspended with immediate effect until valid licences were in place and they must produce proof that South Africa was not already at the limits of the water that can be allocated.Eskom should produce and implement a 20-year renewable energy roadmap, outlining its commitment to begin investing in significant amounts of renewable energy, be held accountable and liable for ensuring that the coal mines that supply the utility do actually operate with valid water licences and should explicitly quantify, and incorporate the negative externalities of coal-fired electricity generation into the costs of new coal-fired power stations.
Ms Adams concluded by saying that water was not just an environmental issue but was a fundamental issue at the very heart of justice, development, economics and human rights. It was time to end the era of coal in South Africa through a just transition away from coal and towards renewable energy.
Mr Skosana wanted to know the exact issue there was with Kusile in order to empower the Department on this matter. He asked for input on the process moving from coal to renewable energy to assist the Committee is taking the issue forward.
Mr Morgan wanted to know the views and position of Green Peace on Kusile as he felt it was at a point of no return. He wanted to know how Green Peace linked the vision of renewable energy to water.
Ms Adams said that a study was done by the University of Pretoria, which projected the water Kusile would use. She added the problem was that small projects on renewable energy were no longer the answer but that bigger ones needed to be looked at. Kusile should not happen but in the idea of a just transition, as outlined by Green Peace, there was coal to last for 60 years and given that power stations age, government should not renew the contracts and should not add more coal. She added that jobs linked to coal mine were declining. She used the example of Germany experiencing such a successful and vast transition in ten years.
Mr S Huang (ANC) questioned how many mines were operating without a licence.
Ms Adams said half of the 22 mines did not have licences. She added that it was hard to get updated information on this.
The Chairperson asked if she knew of any mines that were operating without a licence. He wanted to find out why the Department was not doing anything about the mines operating without a licence.
Ms Adams said that she would forward him a list.
Energy Intensive Users Group submission
Mr Mike Roussouw said the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) found the NWRS very important, if not one of the most important policy documents before Parliament. A good strategy followed the ABCD – A: Solid Fact Base, B: Clear Direction, C: Evaluation of all Strategy Options and D: Test for Implement-ability.
Mr Roussouw said the NWRS2 was not a strategy but rather sought to open up more policy debate. The NWRS2 identified 11 core strategies, seven technical strategies, four governance strategies, four enabling strategies and 79 “Key Strategic Activities”. There was much duplication, too few actionable plans were proposed, there was a lack of timeframes or assignation of responsibilities and although the NWRS2 effectively outlined the strategies needed to develop a strategy, there was no clear differentiation between facts, objectives, strategies and plans.
Mr Roussouw said the NWRS2 was fixing what was not broken and not fixing what was broken. This had led to a number of proposals that should be interrogated, not just for their intentions, and whether they were likely to achieve them, but also for what they reveal about the Department’s analysis of its challenges. While there was certainly a need for better management, there was a multitude of new concepts proposed, such as “water footprints”, “source to tap, tap to source” applications, “multi-purpose development”; “multiple use services approach”, “multi-parameter decision-making”, “complex system management”, “multilateral networking and coordination” as well as undefined “smart technologies”. He added that some of these concepts were far from new (“multi-purpose development”), others were poorly defined and understood (source to tap, tap to source applications) or already going out of fashion (water footprints). Most would require considerable work before they could be usefully applied.
Old policy challenges were renewed and what was missing was a discussion of the experience to date. Part of the problem was that efforts to use water management and allocation as a tool for empowerment had been largely unsuccessful. This was acknowledged in the regional perspectives where, in passing, the document noted that water had been set aside for black farmers but not taken up in the Orange, Mogalakwena, Pongola, and Fish basins and that, in addition, extensive under-utilised resources were available in areas of KwaZulu- Natal and the Eastern Cape in rivers such as the Thukela, Umzimvubu and Mbashe. It was acknowledged that what was needed were “linkages to broader government and private sector programmes of redress in land, agriculture and business”, but there was no analysis of why these programmes had not taken advantage of the water opportunities that had been created.
Looking at administrative issues on water shortage or water licensing, he said given the importance of the administrative process to enable the implementation of the National Water Act (NWA), the lack of recognition of the underlying administrative problems was discouraging. The overarching challenge was not equity but the fact that, in many parts of South Africa, all water was being used and there was no additional water to allocate which meant that some water had to be taken from existing users if new needs were to be met.
Mr Roussouw turned to the private sector specifically / water users in general, stating that one obvious response to the acknowledged lack of capacity in government and public agencies was to mobilise more support from outside. However, there was a schizophrenic attitude in the NWRS2 to the private sector specifically and water users generally. In some parts of the report, they were presented as part of the solution while elsewhere, however, they were presented as part of the problem. When action was proposed, it was suggested, again, that the problem lay with the users. What was needed was dedicated and active involvement in water governance and management structures including national water information, integrated catchment management including CMAs involvement, water use associations, and water boards as well as planning and management forums. The evidence was that while there was significant appetite from private sector water users and other stakeholders to get involved, the framework for this needed to be created by government and this had often not happened leading sometimes to frustration and disillusion and this was not acknowledged.
He looked at decentralisation for participation or administrative convenience noting that the proposal to reduce the number of CMAs was significant. The NWA called for the establishment of 19 CMAs while the decision to change from 19 to nine CMAs had apparently already been taken although the proposal was formally still under consultation. Nonetheless, this was one case in which the NWRS2 addressed a current challenge by proposing an administrative simplification, which should be commended, provided that the disadvantages were addressed which meant reducing the number of CMAs increased the complexity of managing boundary issues.
Mr Roussouw moved onto the Water Conservation and Demand Management (WCDM) as to whether it was a strategy or just slogan, stating the commitment to WCDM had been in place since 2004 (and, before, in the 1997 White Paper). However, it was not clear that much progress had been made. Targets had been set (including a “Presidential Outcome” for 2014) but, once again, there was no reporting on trends or challenges in meeting targets, which appeared increasingly unrealistic. A series of actions was proposed but there was no analysis of the experience so far and how the proposed actions were intended to address the challenges that had emerged.
Mr Roussouw said, in terms of information, its impact and its absence, the NWRS was conceived as an instrument that would allow society to monitor the overall water resource situation of the country, to inform its societal response, not just the response of the narrow water sector. Consequently, it was disturbing to note that information generation was one of the weakest areas of the NWRS2. This was recognised by the requirements of the NWA that the NWRS must present updated water balances and perspectives but, unfortunately, due to a lack of investment and resourcing, these water balances were not updated, and the present water situation could therefore not be presented. A lack of information and knowledge could lead to serious errors in research. The NWRS failed to use the excellent research skills and recourses we had, yet it set out to establish new approaches and the existing Water Research Commission was the envy of many more developed countries.
Turning to the financial dimensions, he said it was covered in four separate sections: Water Economics, Core Strategy Nine: Embedding Sustainable Business Principles and Practices, Core Strategy Ten: Implementing a Water Sector Investment, Enabling Strategy One: Water Finance and Funding. It was stated that an investment framework had been developed, but this was not presented.
Mr Roussouw said the critical questions to ask were - did the NWRS2 accept the policy foundation established in the White Paper and NWA (which the NWRS1 sought to give effect to) or did it seek to change policy in key respects, in the proposed review of the NWA?
On the state of water in SA, he said it was less about policy but rather more about a failure to implement policy effectively. The NWRS2 identified many problems but failed to provide practical proposals to deal with the problems.
Mr Roussouw’s summary conclusions where that the NWRS2 contained a wide range of ideas and proposals, often with little evidence to underpin them and not always coherently or consistently presented which made it difficult to draw firm conclusions. It did not follow the structure of NWRS1 nor the requirements of the NWA, which made it difficult to evaluate.
The recommendations for the EIUG were for greater focus, prioritisation and clarity, clear focussed interventions, not a collection of the latest policy fashions and the establishment of institutions and systems to manage the difficult process of reallocating water between competing users, and operating the national water infrastructure in a technically and financially sustainable manner.
The Chairperson said it was difficult to engage with the EIUG as they did not yet submit a written submission but still had valuable input. Great accolades were given to policy drafted under Dr Kader Asmal but today they did not work.
Mr Skosana wanted clarity on rural development and the funding model.
Mr Morgan questioned the challenges of transversal management in the South Africa water sector, specifically when looking at municipalities, and noted these were substantial issues that needed to be emphasised.
The Chairperson raised the point on equity saying that most water was given to agriculture and entities like Eskom while there were black communities living next door to water sources that had no water. He was quite astounded by this comment. He was worried about the over-reliance on the private sector. He wanted clarity on these issues.
Mr Roussouw said that in the rural areas, water allocations had not been properly addressed and the EIUG was concerned about this. The over-arching problem was not equity but in policy not being properly implemented and causing failure. It could be corrected by making the necessary corrections to the NWRS.
Looking at transversal management, he said to follow the ABCD suggested model. There was absolutely nothing wrong with policy changes but what was wrong was trying to fix implementation problems with more policy. Things needed to be simplified to ensure for better implementation. Big ambitions were set without thinking about bottle-necks, constraints and failure of implementation. The Department needed to get back to basics. He added that CMAs were not working and this needed to be analysed.
There needed to be a distinction made between equity and water allocation and there was a problem of equity which needed to be addressed. Compulsory licensing needed to be sorted out.
Mr Roussouw turned to the private sector and said no one party could solve the problems of water on their own. A collaborative approach was needed.
The Chairperson said that important issues were raised which would be looked at more carefully.
Mr Morgan wanted the EIUG’s comments on the interventions of the energy sector in using water more efficiently as the sector were substantial water users. He also questioned their actual level of interaction with the Department.
Mr Roussouw highlighted the cleaning out of water usage discharges and noted compliance. The mining users worked with communities to make sure they had access to safe water and had water for agricultural use and it was part of their social compact. There was a lot of work to be done but there were great collaborations. He had not personally interacted with DWA but believed it was one of the best run departments in government and had been for a long time and was disappointed the NWRS did not reflect the calibre of people working in DWA. Their level of consultation with role players and industry had always been remarkable. He added the Department even phoned them to set up meetings for consultations.
The Chairperson said that, in terms of the equitable share and some disadvantaged and rural communities’ not taking up their allocation, the system was fundamentally flawed. He highlighted historical legacies and said not enough had been done to fix up inequity since democracy. The Department needed to lead the country on issues of water and not be led. He added the Department relied on arisen needs and not principles to define and drive how water was dealt with. He noted political problems and issues of institutions. The issue of equity was number one.
Mr Roussouw said he had taken the comments of the Chairperson into account and they would be responded to.
The Chairperson said he hoped the Department was making notes for their responses on some issues once the hearings were complete.
Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report
The Environmental Affairs Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report 2012 was passed unanimously by the Committee with amendments from last week’s meeting.
The Water Affairs Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report still needed to be passed but was not of good enough standard to be passed. They would not meet the deadline for passing.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Gauteng Water Caucus submission
- Green Peace Africa Comments: Proposed National Water Resources Strategy 2 (NWRS 2) Managing
- Stop Treading Water: What Civil Society can do to get Water Governance in South Africa Back on Track
- Green Peace Africa presentation
- UCT Urban Water Management presentation
- Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa presentation
- UCT Urban Water Management submission
- Strategy: Water Sensitive Urban development in the NWRS
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting