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Abbreviations and Units

The materials in Garduño 1998a and 1998b, have been summarized and consolidated in this report, along with a preliminary assessment of progress in the implementation of the South African Water Rights Administration System. The author assisted the Government of South Africa, as FAO consultant in September 1997 and February 1998, in the implementation of a water rights administration system. The temporal dimension of the following account may be better understood by keeping in mind these dates:

· September 1997, first mission of the author to South Africa as FAO consultant on water rights administration.

· February 1998, second mission of the author.

· August 1998, adoption of the National Water Act.

· May 1999, latest updated information included in this report.

· October 1999, coming into effect of the sections of the Act related to water use licensing.

Most of the recommendations regarding implementation activities were made during the first mission in September 1997. During the second mission, in February 1998, the guidelines for a training program were prepared and progress regarding some key implementation issues was assessed. Later and up to May 1999, progress with implementation was partially updated through personal communication (Schreiner 1999). A thorough evaluation of how implementation is actually proceeding in the field would be required in order to achieve a comprehensive assessment of the whole process.

Abbreviations and Units


Capacity Building Program


Catchment Management Agency


Director General


Department of Water Affairs and Forestry


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Geographical Information Systems


Invite Public Comments


Information Technology


Institute for Water Quality Studies


National Water Act


National Water Bill


Publish in Gazette


Republic of South Africa


Time frames uncertain


United Nations


United Nations Development Program


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Users and Polluters Model


Water Use Authorization Management System


World Meteorological Organization


White Paper on a National Water Policy for South Africa


Water Resources


Water Rights Information System


Water Rights Implementation Program




square kilometers




liters per day






million cubic meters


million cubic meters per annum


i. Summary of Available Information
ii. Water Availability and Uses at the National and Regional Level

i. Summary of Available Information

3.1 The following paragraphs will make it clear that in South Africa the scarcity and vulnerability of water dictate the need to establish and manage a licensing or permit system for abstracting water and disposing of wastewater. A recent report (DWAF 1997a) provides the framework for such an evaluation at national and regional levels (Figure 3.1). The following is an annotated summary of the report and some comments on information availability.

3.2 There are different degrees of information in the country regarding availability, uses and pollution of water:

· On water availability, there is a relatively high level of reliability, more so for surface than for groundwater.1
1 By, however, a very important effort was underway to complete the hydrogeological maps for the whole country July 1999 (DWAF 1997c)
· On present water uses, the report only gives estimates at the national and regional level for the main activities. There is no comprehensive information system at the national level on water uses and users, or on waste discharges and polluters. Similarly, a comprehensive information system is lacking, covering users who have some kind of authorization to abstract water or to discharge waste into rivers, lakes, aquifers or the sea. However, there seem to be enough independent, central and regional databases to build such a system.

· On future water requirements, the estimates are noticeably uncertain because those requirements are likely to be affected by social and economic changes in the country, as well as by future scarcity of water.

· From the information in the report, water pollution problems appear to be fairly well identified and manageable as far as intensity and size. There seems to be enough information so as to design and introduce an implementation program for wastewater discharge permits. However, the report does not provide information on other wastes, which are dumped in water (e.g. solid and non-point sources). According to staff at DWAF’s Western Cape regional office, there is sufficient information on non-point sources and their effects on water quality at present. The impression is that there is enough organized information. Moreover, headquarters in Pretoria have taken the initiative to integrate a nation wide water quality information system (Van Rensburg 1997).

Figure 3.1 - Location of Major Regions (From DWAF 1997a)

ii. Water Availability and Uses at the National and Regional Level

3.3 Water use in South Africa is determined by conditions of climate, geography and history. Water is generally scarce with a mean annual rainfall that ranges from 301 mm/annum in the Karoo Region to 815 mm/annum in the Eastern Coastal Region. Rainfall in South Africa is highly seasonal and variable, especially in the more arid areas where unpredictable droughts occur.

3.4 The total surface runoff is only 50,150 m3/annum with 60% of this arising from only 20% of the land area. Most of the larger rivers draining the country are shared by one or more neighboring states. And due to streamflow variability the estimated maximum yield is 33,290 Mm3/annum.

3.5 Groundwater in South Africa is scarce, although it has played a key role in the settlement and initial development of the country. In rural areas today, groundwater is still of great importance.

3.6 The total water use for 1996 was estimated as 20,045 Mm3/a with the following distribution of uses:

· Irrigation


· Environment


· Domestic and Urban


· Mining and large industries


· Afforestation2


2 In South Africa the term “afforestation” which is used throughout this report, refers to forestation, or the growing of trees on a piece of land.
3.7 The natural scarcity of water is also aggravated for the following reasons:
· most of the main metropolitan areas and industrial growth centers have developed around mineral deposit and harbor sites, and are situated far from river courses;

· some of the irrigation developments were originally established in regions where water was still relatively abundant, but now water has become scarce in those regions; and

· in several catchment areas the water requirements far exceed availability.

In order to counteract and balance these problems of supply and demand, there are large water resource development works and extensive inter-basin transfers. In addition, the construction of large dams has resulted in a total storage capacity of 27,000 Mm.3
3 These regions do not correspond to the boundaries of the DWAF regional offices which are linked to provincial boundaries.
3.8 Figure 3.1 shows the seven regions of South Africa in which catchments with similar hydrometeorological characteristics are grouped. Tables 3.1 and 3.2 and Box 3.1 summarize relevant information for each region. The author created them with material from DWAF 1997 and they provide the framework for the suggestions for the Water Rights Implementation Program given in Chapter C. The aridity of the country is evident from Table 3.1; the mean annual evaporation is several times larger than the mean annual precipitation, varying from 1.9 times the annual precipitation in the Eastern Inland Region to 7.3 times in the Karoo. It is also apparent that if the present water use trends continue, by the year 2030 water requirements in four out of the seven regions will exceed the maximum yield of those regions.

Table 3.1 - Regional Hydrometeorological Characteristics and Water Requirements.


Area 1000 km2

Map mm/a

Evap mm/a

Evapt Times Map

MAR Mm3/a



MaxY Mm3/a

MaxY % %MAR

Wrq96 % %MaxY

Wrq30 % %MaxY













Eastern Inland












Eastern Coastal












Southern Coastal












South Western




































Area Surface, in thousand km2
Map Mean annual precipitation, in mm/a
Evap Mean annual evaporation
Evapt Evap/Map
MAR Mean annual runoff, in Mm3/a
UMAR Unit mean annual runoff, in mm/a
RCFF Runoff coefficient (100 x UMAR/Map)
Max Y Maximum yield
Max Y% 100 x MaxY/MAR
Wrq96% Percentage Estimated water requirements in 1996 (100 x Wrq96/MaxY)
Wrq30% Percentage Estimated water requirements in 2030 (100 x Wrq30/MaxY)

Table 3.2 - Regional Water Requirements Dynamics





























Eastern Inland













Eastern Coastal













Southern Coastal













South Western




















































Wrq96 Estimated water requirements in 1996
Ur-dm Urban and domestic
Mi-ind Mining and industrial outside urban areas
Irr-aff Irrigation and afforestation
Env Environment
Wrq30 Estimated water requirements in 2030

3.9 Table 3.2 shows the change in the dynamics of water use from 1996 to 2030. These DWAF predictions are based on the following assumptions:

· that there will only be increases in urban-domestic and mining-industrial uses due to expected increases in economic activity and living standards;

· that volumes of water used for irrigation and afforestation will remain almost constant or even decrease; and

· that water use for environmental purposes will decrease from 19% to 14% in 2030, while the mean annual runoff reserved for the environment will remain constant.

3.10 The importance of reserving water to maintain a healthy environment has been recognized, but there is a lack of data concerning amounts of water actually needed. This is reflected in the similarities found between the estimated requirements for ecological purposes for 1996 and 2030. Intensive research is necessary in order to clarify the complex relationships which exist between water, other natural resources and living organisms

3.11 In Box 3.1 the regional issues concerning water use and pollution are shown.

Box 3.1 Regional Issues on Water Use and Pollution.


Water requirements and reuse

Groundwater issues

Water pollution issues


· Water use dominated by irrigation, with some afforested areas in mountains.

· Need for improved water supply for several million in rural areas.

· In-stream environmental requirements low due to natural variability and intermittent nature of flow.

· Effluent return flows from urban complexes, which are largely supplied by transfers from the Vaal, provide a growing source of water for reuse.

· The sandy aquifer along Blood River, tributary of Sand River, is being recharged by treated effluent from Petersburg.

· Extensively used for irrigation and rural water supplies.

· Surface water will have to substitute rural supplies to alleviate over exploited fissured rock aquifers.

· Crocodile River polluted by urban runoff as well as urban and industrial return flows.

· Olifants River polluted by coal mining.

Eastern Inland

· Water use dominated by irrigation (sugar cane, citrus and subtropical fruit) and commercial afforestation.

· Need for improved water supply for several hundred thousand in rural areas.

· Environmentally sensitive Sabie and Mongola rivers require in-stream flows.

· Much of the water which appears to be excess must be shared with Swaziland and Mozambique.

· Dolomite sources used for rural and village water supply.

· Generally not over-exploited, with exception of dense rural settlements with insufficient water supply systems, such as the Bosbokrand area, where groundwater reserves are being severely depleted.

· High quality water in all rivers, with exception of upper reaches of Usutu River due to increasing coal mining.

Eastern Coastal

· Water use dominated by irrigation (sugar cane and subtropical fruit) and afforestation.

· Large industrial use in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay.

· Even though water is abundant, over a million people do not have access to formal, or safe and reliable supply system.

· Largest environmental requirements in the country because:

* Several rivers and estuaries require sufficient fresh water to be maintained healthy.

* Other rivers require different flows in each season to maintain mouth similar to natural conditions.

* Fresh water and sediments are important to coastal life.

· Effluent return flows from Pietermaritzburg are fully re-used in the Mgeni system, although effluent from Durban and coastal towns is still discharged into the ocean.

· Ample availability for rural and village supplies.

· There are no high-yielding aquifers for the more densely developed urban areas.

· Since groundwater contributes to surface base flow, any significant increase in use of groundwater sources would reduce surface flow, decrease water tables, producing salt intrusion, and reduce seepage which is ecologically important in some coastal areas.

· Good quality, with exception of some stretches of rivers affected by discharges from pulp and paper mills, as well as coal mining.

· Water in the Mzunduzi and Mgenbi rivers downstream of Pietermaritzburg is of relatively poor quality due to urban wash-off, the discharge of effluents but especially to wash-off and seepage from poorly serviced informal housing areas.

Southern Coastal

· Water use dominated by irrigation (fodder-lucerne-, annual crops and citrus)

· Other major uses of surface water are domestic and industrial in the urban areas, mainly around Port Elizabeth.

· Areas of environmental importance:

* Tsitsikama forest.

* Coastal area, including the national park.

* Knysna, Swartvlei and Wilderness lakes and lagoons.

* River mouths such as Fish, Sundays and Outeniqua rivers.

* George to Plettenberg region, but it still has ample water available.

· Rural water requirements largely met by groundwater.

· More available in the wetter coastal areas, where many springs occur. However, caution should be exercised to prevent the intrusion of sea water.

· Water in the Fish, Sundays and Gouritz rivers is of naturally high salinity, due to the geology of the region.

· Water in the Groot River is also of high salinity

South Western

· Water use dominated by irrigation (this is probably the main fruit, vineyard and citrus production area in the country).

· Urban and industrial use, centered in the Cape Town area is also a major user

· Areas of environmental importance:

* Estuaries, river mouths and wetlands, including the lower Palmiet River, Langebaan Lagoon and lower Berg river.

* In-stream requirements of the headwater streams.

· The Atlantis Aquifer is part of the urban water supply system, while artificial recharge is also practiced to a degree.

· Water from the Cape Flats Aquifer is used for agricultural purposes.

· Langebaan Aquifer has potential for urban water supply to the Saldanha/Vredenburg area.

· Springs are common in the high rainfall mountains, although limited storage exists.

· The dry northern areas have extremely low recharge rates and water is brackish and even saline.

· Water in some of the reaches of the Breë River is of relatively high salinity.

· Water in the lower Doring River, with potential for further utilization, is of poor quality, especially during low flows.


· Water use dominated by irrigation (80% for low value cash crops and fodder, only 20% for higher value crops).

· Bloomfontein, in the Modder River Catchment, is the only major urban center which is supplied with water from the Orange River.

· Industrial use to satisfy some mining needs.

· Hydropower generation at Gariep and Vanderkloof dams. As the power is essentially generated by water released for other purposes, this is not regarded as an additional requirement for water.

· Areas of environmental importance:

* Orange River Mouth and estuary are bird sanctuaries and flyway stopovers. Hence water is needed to maintain the salinity balance in the tidal/lagoon area and the saltwater marshes.

* In-stream flow requirements for aquatic life and scenic areas are sufficiently provided for by releases for other purposes.

· Extensively used for stock watering, rural domestic and village water supplies.

· Low yielding formations with low recharge rates in the drier parts. Consequently, it is over exploited by extensive well fields for the larger towns located far from the Orange River.

· Springs and groundwater seepage are common in the well-watered parts of Lesotho.

· Naturally good in the Orange River, with very low salinity in the highlands of Lesotho.

· Occasional high salinity inflows from the Vaal river, together with high salinity irrigation return flows along the Orange River, may require careful management of water quality along the lower reaches of the river in the future.


· The Vaal River is the most developed and regulated river in the country, with the Vaal River System supporting roughly half of the economic activity in South Africa.

· Water use dominated by irrigation (Cash and fodder crops, with no particularly high value).

· The second largest use is for gold mining, petrochemical industry, thermal power generation and the larger cities.

· Irrigation at Vaalharts is partly supported by effluent return flows from Johannesburg and vicinity, which assists in preventing salt build-up in the Vaal Barrage

· Environmental water requirements in the Vaal River are currently being assessed. Due to its highly regulated nature, in-stream requirements along the main stream are met by releases for other purposes. In future small releases may be required from the upper reservoirs.

· Water is transferred to the northern parts of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg.

· Little information is available on the informal use of water, such as from boreholes in the rural areas.

· The pumping of groundwater together with mine dewatering has resulted in a new equilibrium in the large dolomite aquifers.

· Farms and some small towns are generally dependent on over-exploited low yielding fissured rock aquifer. However, if current pumping rates are maintained, the expectation is that their levels will remain approximately stable.

· Due to the interactive balance between surface and groundwater any large increase in the pumping of the latter will reduce spring flow and surface water.

· Downstream from the Vaal Dam water quality is greatly affected by effluent returns from large urban centers and through high salinity mining pumpage.

· About 60% of the water abstracted by Rand is returned as treated effluent to the Vaal and Crocodile rivers. The Vaal River is carefully managed so as not to exceed selected salinity thresholds, while also limiting spillage to the Orange River to flood events only.

3.12 From Box 3.1 the following conclusions can be drawn:

· Water use is dominated by irrigation in all seven regions, irrespective of the relative scarcity of water; and
· Distribution of water for basic needs to those who do not receive an adequate supply may not greatly affect other uses in the near future. It has been estimated that 1% of water used for irrigation would be enough to provide 25 L/day per capita to 13 million people who are currently without access to safe and reliable drinking water. However, taking into account the expected increase in unit consumption due to urbanization, as well as desirable improvement in living conditions, it is necessary to make sensitivity analyses of the effect of domestic water use in water stressed areas and this would be done by creating scenarios from now to 2030.
3.13 From the above analysis of data, the present situation concerning water demands, pollution and management throughout the Republic of South Africa can be appreciated. It is evident that, with the continued exploitation and development of water resources to meet growing demands, directive action needs to be taken. In this way water use patterns could be changed and the growth in water requirements slowly decreased. Based on the current situation the DWAF has predicted the following scenario for the first half of the 21st Century:
· South Africa will, irrespective of where in the country development takes place, reach the limit of its economically usable, fresh surface water resources; and

· water supply limitations will be encountered on a countrywide basis.

3.14 Apart from these overall predicaments, the administration of hydropower, flood control and groundwater need to be seriously addressed. For example in Box 3.1 it appears that both hydropower and flood control are relatively insignificant in terms of management of water resources. Hydropower is only mentioned once and flood control not at all. Two reasons for this are that:
· hydropower does not actually consume water; and
· flood control is mainly the responsibility of local authorities.
3.15 However, both are important functions that should be integral parts of water resources management. For instance, in most multipurpose schemes there are operational conflicts, which the water authority must address and resolve. It was therefore recommended that in the drafting of the National Water Bill special attention be paid to both hydropower and flood control.


i. Background
ii. Legal Bases of the Water Rights Administration System

i. Background

3.16 The Republic of South Africa has, in historical terms, recently experienced an important upheaval in its political, social and racial circumstances. This change has prompted a change in the administration of water rights. Previous to the abolishment of apartheid, the unequal distribution of opportunities and resources resulted in the concentration of most of the nation’s scarce water supplies in the hands of a minority. There was a corresponding paucity of water resources available, even to satisfy the basic needs of many millions of South Africans. The policy of the new government is to redress those inequalities and to ensure the unprejudiced allocation throughout the Republic.

3.17 The policy of the present government, with respect to redressing inequities in the allocation of water resources, stems from the Constitution (Government of RSA, 1996). This is clearly stated in the White Paper (DWAF, 1997b) which states that “the reallocation of existing water uses - to improve the optimum and equitable use of water - is constitutionally valid”. The need to reallocate water in such a way as to afford protection to the environment is also recognized. However, the most important challenge for future generations related to the setting up of a water rights administration system, is to ensure that water uses are reallocated gradually, thus protecting the country’s economic activity. The autobiography of President Mandela (Mandela, 1994), reveals that even after the harsh experiences due to past discrimination, he believes that there is a need to forget the past and to build a better future for the whole country and that democracy can be achieved through gradual reforms. Regarding water uses, this means that reallocation must be a gradual process. In fact in the drafting of the NWB a phased implementation of most of its mandates was allowed for.

3.18 The autobiography also stresses the importance of social participation and of leaders going to talk with the people, particularly in rural areas. This has been very important in finalizing the NWB draft and will help the relationship between water officials and water users now that the Bill has been enacted into law. Social participation will increase and be more feasible as education raises water consciousness. The participation of all South African schools will be fundamental in this aspect of implementation.

3.19 President Mandela also refers to the “sunset clause”, by which the new government would honor public servants’ contracts, most of them held by whites. On the other hand, the equitable employment program is trying to reflect the racial population percentages in the civil service. This means that universities and other educational institutions must participate actively in education and training so that previously disadvantaged persons will now have the ability to carry out their new responsibilities in the DWAF. But this will not be enough; white managers and professionals will have to engage in intensive on-the-job training programs. Regarding current water legislation, the Water Act of 1956, along with many amendments and ancillary regulations have still been in effect up until the enactment of the new Bill.

3.20 There is one caveat to the gradual approach strategy for reallocation, which is that if reallocation is too protracted and procrastinated there is a risk of severe social unrest as well as permanent ecological damage. Therefore, it was important to anticipate implementation issues and prepare implementation tools even before enactment of the new Bill, in order to be ready to start implementation as soon as possible.

3.21 The previous water administration system was based on the 1956 Water Act, and it became imperative to write a new Act and to make the changes necessary to meet present day and future water requirements of the RSA. Two important features of the former legislation were the possession of water rights by only a small minority of the population and the issuing of water licenses in perpetuity, without a term of expiry. However, in spite of the outdated nature of the Act, some important water resource developments were initiated in the past in order to cope with South Africa’s problem of water scarcity. This was done by building large dams, conduits and treatment plants, such that good quality water was provided when and where needed. The RSA has therefore inherited, from the past administration, some impressive engineering achievements which will be indispensable in the new system of water management.

3.22 The characteristics of the RSA, outlined above, give an indication of the importance of preparing and implementing new water legislation for the future. It must also be realized, that during the drafting period and following the adoption of the new NWB, problems of everyday administration continued to occur. For example, when staff in the DWAF regional offices experienced setbacks in carrying out their duties because the central offices in Pretoria did not resolve issues. The reason given for this was that “the new NWB has not been approved yet”. Although it was suggested that central offices resolve problems under the old Water Act still in force, by issuing instructions to regional offices, this constitutes further evidence that immediate implementation of the new Act was essential. For this reason the drafting of the NWB and the design of its implementation program were carried out simultaneously.

3.23 In summary, the enactment of the 1998 Water Bill on the 26th August 1998 followed the adoption of the 1996 Constitution. A White Paper (DWAF, 1997b) describing water problems in the country and proposing ways to solve them was then written, and submitted to review and discussion throughout the Republic. From this discussion, the need to design a new water law arose. During the writing of the fourth draft of the NWB experience from other countries in the drafting of a new law was sought. Hence with the assistance of the FAO, drafting of the Water Bill and anticipating the implementation requirements of the same were carried out at the same time. It was this course of events which finally culminated in August 1998, with the enactment of the NWB.

3.24 The institutionalized body which is responsible for the administration of water rights and water development aspects in the RSA is the Department of Water and Forestry (DWAF). Within the DWAF there is a very capable core of professionals as well as valuable resources, such as data, in-house developed software and information systems. It is the DWAF, which will provide the foundations and necessary ingredients for a nation-wide capacity building program. In recent years the DWAF has already made an effort to move away from the traditional supply orientated water resource management to incorporate demand management. The new water rights system will provide the knowledge of water abstractions and discharges which will contribute to the demand management approach reflected in the new legislation.

ii. Legal Bases of the Water Rights Administration System

3.25 The constitutional bases for the National Water Act and therefore for the new approach to water rights administration are given by Sections 24 and 27 of the 1996 Constitution (Government of RSA 1996) (See Box 3.2). According to this constitutional framework water is fundamental for the environment and human life, but it is realistically recognized that well-being and equity cannot be achieved overnight.

Box 3.2 - Constitutional Sections Related to Water Rights Administration

Section 24. Environment. Everyone has the right

(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation; and
(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
Section 27. Health care, food, water and social security.
(1) Everyone has the right to have access to
(a) health care services, including reproductive health care;
(b) sufficient food and water; and
(c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.
(2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization of each of these rights

3.26 Following Presidential assent on the 20th of August, the National Water Act was published in South Africa’s Government Gazette, on 26 August 1998 (Government of RSA 1998). Box 3.3 has been taken from the NWB, 1998 and outlines the main objectives of the new law. It is important to note that intensive consultation with government departments, provincial and local governments and interest groups was carried out and ownership of the Bill was achieved as a result.

Box 3.3 - Main Objectives of the National Water Act, 1998 (As stated in the NWB)

· “The National Government of South Africa has overall responsibility for and authority over the nation’s water resources and their use. Section 27 of the Constitution requires the State to take reasonable legislative and other measures to achieve access for everyone to sufficient water.”

· “The main object of the Bill is to provide for the management of the nation’s water resources so as to enable the achievement of sustainable use of water for the benefit of all water users. To that end it is necessary to provide for the protection of the quality of water resources and for the integrated management of water resources with delegation of powers to institutions at regional or catchment level so as to enable everyone to participate in the processes. The Bill accordingly seeks to provide for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of the nation’s water resources, taking into account the need to-

(a) meet the basic human needs of present and future generations;
(b) promote equitable access to water;
(c) redress the results of past racial and gender discrimination;
(d) promote the efficient, sustainable and beneficial use of water in the public interest;
(e) facilitate social and economic development;
(f) provide for growing demands for water use;
(g) protect aquatic and associated ecosystems and their biological diversity;
(h) reduce and prevent pollution and degradation of water resources;
(i) meet international obligations
(j) promote dam safety; and
(k) manage floods and droughts.”
· The Bill seeks to provide for the development of strategies to facilitate the proper management of water resources, the classification of water resources, the provision for the reserve for basic human needs and for the ecological sustainability of the various water resources. It also seeks to provide measures for the protection of the water resources against pollution and for dealing with the effects of pollution of water resources.

· The Bill seeks to lay the basis for regulatory water use, including the taking and storing of water, activities which reduce stream flow, waste discharges and disposals, other activities which impact detrimentally on water resources, altering a watercourse, removing water found underground and recreation. Since the new regulatory system which the bill seeks to introduce might impact on existing rights, provision is made for the payment of compensation in certain circumstances.

· The Bill also deals with measures to finance the provision of services as well as financial and economic measures to support the implementation of policies aimed at water resource protection, conservation of water and the beneficial use of water.

· The Bill seeks to provide for the progressive establishment of catchment management agencies so as to devolve water resource management to a local level and to involve local communities, within the framework of the national water resource strategy. It also deals with the establishment of water user associations which are cooperative associations of individual water users who wish to undertake water-related activities for their mutual benefit. It is envisaged that existing irrigation boards, subterranean water control boards and water boards established for watering stock will continue in operation until they are restructured as water user associations, which process must commence with a prescribed time period. The Bill also seeks to empower the Minister to appoint advisory committees and to provide for the continued existence of certain advisory committees established before the passage of the Bill. The Minister is also empowered to establish bodies to implement international agreements in respect of the management and development of water resources shared with neighboring countries and to promote regional cooperation in respect of water resources.

· The Bill seeks to empower the Minister to establish and operate government waterworks and to deal with existing government waterworks.

· The Bill also contains provisions aimed at improving the safety of dams and provisions seeking to secure access onto and over property of others for purposes relating to water resource management and water use. There are also provisions to facilitate monitoring, recording, accessing and disseminating information on water resources.

· The Bill seeks to establish a Water Tribunal to hear appeals against the decision of a responsible authority and applications for compensation as a result of the deprivation of water use rights. It also seeks to provide for mediation.

· The Bill contains general provisions as well as schedules dealing with permissible use of water, servitudes, powers and duties of catchment management agencies, the management and planning of water institutions, a model constitution for water user associations, the Water Tribunal, the repeal of certain laws and listing certain water use activities known as controlled activities.


i. Description of Activities Important to the Implementation Process Prior to the Enactment of the National Water Bill
ii. Implementation Activities Following the Enactment of the National Water Bill
iii. Main Lesson Learnt and Next Steps

3.27 Both prior to and immediately following the enactment of the Bill, various implementation activities needed to be carried out. One of the virtues of the new Act is that it allows time and flexibility for the Minister to deal with complex matters, by providing for a gradual and phased approach and preliminary determination of aspects such as the Reserve, as well as by recognizing regional and other differences. However, this is a two-edged sword, because if the Act is not implemented soon after promulgation, the DWAF might be blamed for not enforcing it; and if it is not implemented uniformly the DWAF might be accused of implementing it asymmetrically. Both would undermine credibility. Therefore, it appeared to be very important to determine and monitor closely all activities leading to implementation, such as the development of guidelines and procedures, as well as backed-up criteria for differentiated application of the law. For instance, it was deemed advisable that water charges started to be levied as soon as possible after the Bill was enacted. However, this would require the prior classification of water bodies and the prior determination of resource quality objectives, as prescribed by the Act. Both are, in and of themselves, complex exercises which take time to complete.

i. Description of Activities Important to the Implementation Process Prior to the Enactment of the National Water Bill

3.28 In Table 3.3, implementation activities, as they were recommended in September 1997, are outlined. In brief, before enactment of the Bill, besides the actual drafting, it was considered to be necessary to cover aspects such as the setting up of an infrastructure necessary for implementation of the Act and the establishment of a training program that would facilitate the necessary institutional transformation. Once the groundwork had been done the actual implementation activities of the new water Act could be started on day one of the enactment. The first set of activities, grouped under “FRAMEWORK”, refers to the legal steps that were assumed to be required to adopt the Act in South Africa. Enactment was actually achieved in August 1998, seven months before it had been anticipated in the workplan. This is quite remarkable, if it is considered that the new Constitution had been adopted only in December 1996. In the following paragraphs each implementation activity, as recommended in September 1997, is described and an account of progress as of February 1998 and May 1999 is included in italics. This demonstrates the complexities of implementing a water rights administration system and the need for preparedness.

Table 3.3 - Timetable for the Water Rights Implementation Program























a) Technica1 Drafts and Delalied Technical-Legal Discussions

b) Discussion with Users and Stakeholders

c) Draft Approved by Minister

d) Discussions with Joint Cabinet Committee

e) Discussions with Cabinet

f) Publication in Government Gazette (Optional), Period for Comment

g) Discussion of Comments Received & Ammendments by Drafting Team

h) Certification by Slate Law Adviser

i) Parliam en I: Printing and proofreading. Minister to approve tabling in Parliament

j) Request to Deputy Head: Legislation & Procedings for Signing of Bill in English

k) First Reading in Parliament (Tabling in National Assembly)

l) Portfolio Commitee (TF U).

m) Second reading in Parliament (D ebate in National Assembly) TF U

n) National Council of Provinces (Referral to Select Committee to Brief Members) TFU

o) Select Committee TFU.

p) Speaker of Each Provincial Legislature TFU

q) National Council of Provinces TFU

r) National Assembly?/Mediation Committee/President for Assent

1. Licensing Procedures

2. Information System (WRINFS1)

Users and polluters module (UPM 1)

3. Integrate Relevant Documents in Hypertext

4. Organizational Arrangements

5. Design of WRIPI

6. Design of Capacity Building Programme (CBP1)

7. Introduction of WRIP 1 and CBP 1. Pilot Catchment

National Level

8. Evaluation and Adjustments of WRIP 1 and CPB 1

9. Technical Drafts and Detailed Technical-Legal Discussions

10. Discussions with Users and Stakeholders

This framework was adapted from the expected process, according in the experience with the Water Supply Act and the National Liquor Act

Box 3.4 - Concise Description of Activities of the WRIP Timetable

FRAMEWORK. Activities which would have to occur prior to the enactment of the Bill. They required much coordination among DWAF staff, especially among lawyers and engineers, and of DWAF with other units of the Cabinet, Parliament, water users and stakeholders.

1. Licensing Procedures. Update existing procedures according to NWB, integrate them in hypertext software, test feasibility and if necessary, suggest modifications to NWB.

2. Information System Develop a simple first stage of a system regarding all direct and indirect information on water uses and users, water pollution and polluters, as well as afforested and rainfed areas, which could be used in the very short term with available personnel, hardware and software. Include a Users and Polluters Module, i.e. a computer model, able to learn as better information becomes available, which simulates, for each relevant geographical and administrative unit, and for each water sector and water source, the number of users as well as the abstracted, used and disposed volume and quality of water.

3. Integrate relevant documents in hypertext. Take advantage of this software to incorporate the Constitution, Water Act 1956 and relevant laws, NWB and proposed licensing procedures. It can make updating easier and be used also as a training and working tool.

4. Organizational arrangements. Define tasks required for water rights administration, as well as transactions of unit in charge with others within DWAF and with the rest of the water sector.

5. Design of WRIP. Define for each main activity of water rights administration, such as abstraction and users control or polluters control, a realistic and detailed timetable, as well as all inputs required (trained personnel, budget, etc.)

6. Design of Capacity Building Program. Cover ALL role-players in the water sector: Executive, Judiciary, Legislative, practicing lawyers, consulting and construction firms, water users and other stakeholders.

7. Introduction of WRIP1 and CPB1. Gradual implementation at national and regional levels.

8. Evaluation and Adjustments of WRIP and CBP1. Evaluation parameters and activities should be defined as soon as the design stage is finished.

9. Technical Drafts and Detailed Technical-Legal Discussions. Intensive participation of all categories of DWAF personnel at national and regional levels is required, to assure their ability and willingness to enforce the NWB.

10. Discussions with Users and Stakeholders. Intensive negotiations were still required to stress, develop or restore the trust of users, to assure they would be able and willing to comply with the NWB.

1. Licensing Procedures:

· All aspects of licensing and permits related to water abstraction, waste disposal and afforestation should be considered under a common approach.

· A flow chart should be developed which depicts important aspects of the NWB. Other relevant activities should be included, such as the development of resource quality objectives and allocation plans needed to set up government control areas. In this way, the flow chart acts as a representative means of highlighting interactions among role players. The example shown in Figure 3.2 is based on the seventh draft of the NWB. From this example, it can be seen that apart from helping to identify gaps in the drafting process, such diagrams are a useful means of defining guidelines and procedures that would facilitate implementation.

· Establish mechanisms to prevent and reduce corruption, by:

* simplifying procedures as much as possible for ease of compliance and enforcement;

* reducing discretion of the licensing authorities as much as possible;

* reducing to a minimum the information and other requirements for applications for licensing, according to regional user characteristics and prohibit any official asking for more requirements to issue a license;

* establishing from the outset quality control and auditing;

* distributing procedures and leaflets to users, so they become fully aware of their rights and duties, as well as of those of the Government; and

* before decentralizing power to regional DWAF offices, carry out the capacity building program to counteract the fact that regional offices may be more exposed to corruption because they are closer to local interests than the central administration.

· Integrate in hypertext for successive updating; and

· Test feasibility of the Bill and feedback accordingly.

Figure 3.1 - Partial Flow Chart (page 1 of 2)

Figure 3.1 - Partial Flow Chart (page 2 of 2)


1. This partial flow chart is presented here for illustrative purposes.
2. PIG: Publish in Gazette.
3. IPC: Invite Public Comments
4. S6(3): Refers to sections in NWB.
5. For the DG to determine “water available in the reserve”, a “preliminary water management area” must be first defined. Since this is not provided for in NWB, it must be specified in guidelines, as well as a definition of “water available”.

By February 1998, work leading to policies, guidelines and procedures relating to the NWB had been carried out for:
· abstraction and storage licensing;
· resource protection and resource control; and
· water use authorization systems.
Policy and conceptual papers had been prepared for:
· water pricing; and
· catchment management.
At that time it was suggested that:
· The interaction diagrams developed for abstraction and storage licensing could be carried one step further into work flowcharts as in the example shown in Figure 3.2. This kind of flowchart has the merit of clearly showing the interactions among all role-players and highlighting the need to fill gaps or define required guidelines or procedures. Note 5 on Figure 3.2 shows this.

· More detailed work geared to guidelines and procedures should be immediately started for water use authorization systems and for water pricing.

· In all cases, there was the need to identify which guidelines, updated or new, should be considered as regulations to be issued by the Minister, since these would be subject to public scrutiny.

After adoption of the Act, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry determined that the sections, which relate to the allocation of water use and water use licensing, should come into force by 1 October 1999. Activities to prepare for implementation gained considerable momentum, especially those related to licensing and registration as well as training in order to meet the deadline. Some of the activities that were under way during the first quarter of 1999 are:
· Procedures and manuals relating to the preliminary determination of the reserve were being prepared in order to be available for distribution at the end of April and those for full determination by October. Courses on the determination of the reserve were being arranged

· The general authorizations for the most important water uses such as abstraction and storage were expected to be in place, after public comment, by October 1999. Other general authorizations would follow soon after.

· The draft framework on considerations, conditions, and requirements for licenses had been completed.

· The 9th draft of the strategy document for licenses for streamflow reduction activities had been completed and was being discussed within the DWAF.

· Draft regulations on the use of water and a guideline on the trading of water rights had been distributed in the DWAF prior to public distribution for comment.

· A draft policy document on the registration of water users was being prepared, focussing on registration for abstraction and storage. It was expected to publish draft regulations for comment in mid July and to have in place the final regulations by 1 October 1999.

· The deadline for comments on the pricing strategy (for abstraction) had been extended until the end of May 1999 and the proposal for financial charges for licenses had been distributed for comment.

· The starter document regarding mechanisms to coordinate the monitoring of water resources was expected to be completed by the end of June 1999.

· It was planned to arrange a workshop to formulate a process for evaluating and allocating licenses, through evaluation of two or three case studies.

2. Information System

· Make an inventory of:

* water uses;

* wastewater discharges;

* other waste discharges;

* wastewater treatment plants;

* afforested areas;

* water users and polluters, as well as any existing licenses, schedules, or other documents which will be considered proof of legitimate uses and waste discharges;

* statistical information which could be used to identify users and polluters or to make rough estimates of water uses and pollution loads, such as population and economic census, land use data, etc.;

* available GIS (geographical information systems);

* available data bases to keep track of users’ applications;

* available human resources, those responsible for data, operation and maintenance of the information systems; and

* available computer equipment, software and telecommunications network.

· Interview potential users of information in order to assess their real needs. Identify interactions with other existing or potential information systems, such as the one required to follow-up levy collection.

· Design and implement specifications for filing applications and support documentation, as well as for safeguarding them and making them available in a very rigorous librarian fashion.

· The conceptual design of the overall information system can then be developed. A very simple first stage,4 compatible with the more ambitious, sophisticated system should be designed, and made operational in the very short term. It is important that it starts working all over the country the first day the NWB becomes effective in order to keep track systematically of all the information regarding water rights administration which will be generated.

4 Existing databases should be able to communicate among themselves and feed a user-friendly executive module providing management with synthesized information in support of decision making.
· Give GIS a high priority, in order to properly locate each user from the very beginning.

· Follow a decentralized approach to Information Technology (IT):

* users (of IT) should define their information needs, as well as their priorities to improve existing systems or develop new ones;

* users should be fully responsible for the development of their own systems and they should have full support, provided they follow the guidelines approved by management;

* communication will be welcome in order to achieve more synergy. (e.g. those responsible for the water abstraction module could benefit from contact with the water quality module, whose first stage is already working); and

* bottlenecks must be identified and management informed for decision making.

Users and polluters module (UPM) As a very important part of the information system, a first stage of this module needed to be developed with the available information. It would be simple enough to be used in the design of the first version of the Water Rights Implementation Program (WRIP). But it would be developed in a flexible and modular fashion so that it would be able to accommodate improvements and better information, as they become available.

· Background.

* The only reliable way to know with certainty the volume and quality of water that is abstracted and disposed of by each user sector, is through direct continuous metering of each single user within that sector. The following alternatives provide estimates listed from less to more accurate:
- activity indices, such as:
irrigation or rainfed requirements (average or by crop) applied to cultivated or afforested surfaces;

per capita water supply requirements and unit wastewater discharge, applied to population; and

industrial abstraction and consumption indices (International or national).

- abstraction and wastewater discharge information from existing licenses;
- payment of abstraction levies;
- occasional field surveys and metering; and
- continuous metering of users randomly selected within classes established for each user sector.
* In order to design a program for the existing users, the regularization process and to periodically evaluate progress, it is necessary to have at least some idea of the number of users in each class within each user sector. Obviously the real users’ population will not be known before the regularization process is finalized, but the following information and other relevant data could help to make rough estimates of the expected number of users and the volume of water they utilize and dispose of for each class within each user sector:
- agricultural and forestry statistics of production units;
- land use maps;
- satellite images;
- population census, number of urban and rural localities by size;
- industrial, commercial and services (such as recreation and tourism) census, as well as membership records from related chambers;5
5 Of course, potential user information from this and other sources would have to be analyzed in order to discriminate users of municipal distribution and sewerage networks from those who directly use national water bodies.
- yellow pages from the telephone directories;
- and in the case of agricultural, industrial, commercial and services users who utilize electric energy to pump water, information from power utilities regarding the energy consumption of their customers.
· Objective. To develop a computer module, which is able to learn as better information becomes available. The module would simulate, for each geographical and relevant administrative unit, water sector and water source, the number of users as well as the abstracted and disposed volume of water.

· Some suggested activities.

* For each relevant class, within each water user sector:
- Define different types of users, with input-output type diagrams. E.g., a particular industry could have several installations within the country. One of the installations could be taking water from the municipal distribution network, another could abstract water from its own well field, and still another from its own river intake or even from an irrigation unit. In turn, several combinations could occur when an installation discharges wastewater to a national water body or to the municipal sewerage network.
* Develop interrelated databases:
- For each:
province, catchment, municipality, locality, or any relevant geographical and political unit;
relevant class in each water user sector; and
water source (rainfall, surface and groundwater).
- Which will record the available data, and specify the information source.

- Which will record for each specific abstraction or wastewater disposal of each user’s installation, the abstracted and disposed volumes, as well as relevant water quality parameters. (Specifying whether the source is from old or new licenses, field surveys, and sporadic or continuous metering).

- Which will estimate the number of users, as well as quantity and quality of abstractions and disposals, with the available field information, indirect information and indices. (As more “hard” data becomes available, the module should be able to improve the estimates in areas, types and classes of water sectors where only partial or indirect information is available).

- Which will estimate the potential water charges, according to several charging hypotheses and subsidy policies.

* Suggest a phased program for developing the above data bases, in such a way that the module starts with simple tools, flexible enough to incorporate more sophisticated tools as more information becomes available. Initially the basic module would give rough estimates for:
- water resource planning and development;
- keeping track of advances in program implementation;
- supporting coordination with other governmental units and water users; and
- design and monitoring of WRIP.
· Some possible applications. The UPM could be useful for dealing with the following issues:
* field surveys and metering of existing users (the databases should make it possible to make a random selection of users);

* improve estimates;

* priority definition for water stressed areas;

* developing subsidy and incentive programs;

* providing information on user behavior; and

* providing the framework for efficient water use projects and for achieving a balance between promotion and enforcement.

By February 1998, a conceptual framework for a Water Use Authorization Management System (WARMS) had been developed by the DWAF, as a first stage of the system suggested in September 1997, consisting of three phases:
I. Updating of business processes and procedures associated with licensing, according to the NWB;
II. Building of an Information Technology (IT)-based WARMS; and
III. Design and implementation of a Capacity Building Program.
Detailed terms of reference had been determined for phase I, in order to facilitate liaison with a contracted consultant. At that time, it was recommended that the consultant also deliver the required training material.

By May 1999 the computerized WARMS was being prepared with the aim of having it in place by January 2000. Twenty training courses had been programmed for the May-October period.

3. Integrate relevant documents in hypertext. Hypertext is a software that interrelates databases by connecting several screens by means of associated links. Through more sophisticated applications, it becomes a collaborative environment for communication, teamwork and acquisition of knowledge. In the writing of successive drafts of the Bill, one amendment would lead to others and it would have been difficult to keep track of all possible interconnections. To maintain consistency within the Bill, as well as with the Constitution and the White Paper, it would be useful to integrate in hypertext the NWB, as well as the above mentioned documents, other legal references and the proposed licensing procedures (see activity 1, Licensing procedures). This would help to keep track of interconnections, and of course would be useful as a training tool and implementation aid after enactment. It would also be advisable to include in the hypertext other relevant documents such as the former Water Act, which regulated water use in the past. Invoking such documents through the medium of hypertext software will therefore greatly facilitate the treatment of cases whose genesis has to be traced back in time. There are several commercial software packages available, but probably an experienced consulting firm should be contracted.

By February 1998, the NWB had already been put in platform-independent Internet explorer software, and by May 1999 a Web site had been installed and key documents had been incorporated. This has proved very useful for sharing information among DWAF staff and for facilitating public comment. Communication would be enhanced by the stakeholder database, which started to be implemented in May 1999.

4. Organizational Arrangements. All water sector role players must be considered (DWAF: central and regional offices, catchment management agencies and water users’ associations). It is therefore necessary to:

· define the tasks of the units (within and outside the DWAF);

· define transactions across organizational boundaries, e.g. technical information required to issue abstraction licenses and waste disposal permits; and

· link with activity 6 (Capacity building)

In February 1998, the author recommended to draft a first version of the organizational arrangements, based on progress mentioned above in activity 1. Licensing Procedures.

5. Design of WRIP. The approach is illustrated with respect to control of water pollution. The concept in this case is:

· general authorizations for all activities or works, which have a direct or indirect impact on a water resource, would be issued by the Minister and, as the capacity of the Government permits, would also be registered;

· when there is enough information and the Government achieves sufficient capacity, control will be established for specific groups of users, sites or catchments; and

· public comment would be invited to establish each control target.

The approach of not beginning to register and control until there is enough information and capacity to deal with specific groups of users, sites or catchments6 is certainly a sound one. However, there will never be enough information and sufficient capacity, unless a preliminary, but realistic implementation program is established, taking advantage of the available information. This program should include activities to gradually build the required capacity. The following steps could be taken:
6 With this approach, users must be made aware that all will have to register at some point in time.

· estimate roughly the number of polluters by activity, relative load importance and location (catchment, province);

· with available information and good judgment, establish control priorities; and

· describe what would be needed and how long it would take to establish the sequence of required activities for each type of control target, such as:

* definition of standards;

* definition of management practices;

* development of work flow diagrams and timetables to show the participation that each role player would have in the whole process;

* job descriptions for involved DWAF staff;

* definition of user samples required to monitor wastewater discharges and verify compliance with standards;

* estimate of required human resources, detailed procedures, data management systems and improvement of managerial systems;

* definition of training, public communication and education needs;

* definition of research needs; and

* definition of required budget, personnel and other inputs.

Two extremes may illustrate this approach: the control of the mining industry could start right away since all polluters are well known, and standards and prescribed management practices are in an advanced process of definition. On the other hand, the control of pollution from stormwater will probably take several years to launch, since an assessment of the problem must first be made and standards developed for the particular conditions of different regions in South Africa.
· Select a small number of target users, sites and catchments which would be feasible to control a year after the NWB is promulgated, and develop a detailed program for them.

· With this kind of analysis, a preliminary timetable could be devised for a realistic framework of, say, 30 years. At the same time there would be commitment to immediately start control of some of the most urgent pollution problems. This would probably appeal to the Minister, Parliament and the stakeholders, and would have the additional benefit of testing the capacity of the organization by dealing in a first stage with a manageable number of problems, while a capacity building program runs in parallel. The implementation program could then be updated from time to time with feedback from the results of both the pollution control program and the capacity building program.

A similar approach can be proposed for gradually implementing the surface and groundwater abstraction control areas provisions of the Act, but in these cases an estimate would have to be made of the impact of different classes of each user group at the national, catchment and provincial levels.

A balance must be achieved in order that the DWAF is able to start dealing with water stressed areas from the day the Bill is enacted, and at the same time build the required capacity in the water sector.

By February 1998, progress had been made for Abstraction and Storage Licensing, Resource Protection and Source Control, and Water Use Authorization Management System. At that time, it was suggested that a similar approach be taken for other aspects of the Bill.

6. Capacity Building Program. Action must be considered for all role players in the water sector including the Executive and the Judiciary, practicing lawyers, consulting and construction firms, water users, and stakeholders, in order to address the following components:

· strengthening of an enabling environment, including appropriate policy, legal and regulatory frameworks;

· institutional development, including community participation (with emphasis on women, child education and adult communication programs);

· development of human resources, including training and education, as well as strengthening of managerial systems; and

· enforcement of an equitable employment approach.

In particular, with respect to the DWAF the program should include improvement of salaries and fringe benefits (to stop the recent exodus of junior managers who get better paid elsewhere), as well as streamlining managerial systems and reducing bureaucratic restrictions, which now make it extremely difficult to contract external help.

In addition, it would be a good idea to involve universities and research institutes in developing a discipline for water rights administration (this is much needed not only in South Africa, but in many other countries as well).

In February 1998 it was concluded that many activities going on in DWAF would feed the capacity building program, with particular emphasis on training to support implementation of the NWA. The need for a training program, the conditions of its implementation and a description of the elements involved in such a program are given in more detail in the APPENDIX to this case study.

At that time, the need to train personnel within the DWAF, so that they would be equipped to deal with the new tasks which may arise with the new system of shared management, was stressed. Also, it was recognized that staff should be trained to cope with new relationships that would exist after enactment between water management institutions, water users and stakeholders.

The principal characteristics of the training program designed to fit the new system of water management, which was suggested in February 1998, are summarized as follows:

· training should be tailor made to fit the problems of the South African Water Sector;

· the program should complement the institutional transformation of the DWAF and the policy of equal job opportunities;

· training programs for regional staff will have first priority;

· candidates for training should be defined and identified;

· training should be mutually compatible with daily operational responsibilities, such that one activity does not impede the other;

· training material that is designed and produced by outside professionals should be supervised by the DWAF and Water Sector personnel; and

· there should be adequate procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program, with comparison of follow up statistics before and after the completion of training.

As was mentioned above, significant progress had been achieved by May 1999 regarding training for licensing and registration procedures. Also, the following capacity building components had been launched: (a) a training schedule for technical aspects concerning water use authorizations; (b) proposals for the restructuring of the DWAF to fulfill the functions required by the National Water Act; and (c) a skills audit of both the Head Office and the Regions.

7. Introduction of a Water Rights Implementation Program (WRIP1)

· The program would be introduced first at the central level and in a few catchments which have been selected as pilot areas in order to test diverse aspects. Afterwards, it would be launched at the national level. Even before the NWB is approved, indicative allocations, including the reserve, could be made in order to test the full licensing system. The InKomati Basin was selected by the DWAF to be the first catchment area for the following reasons:

* It is one of the most complex;
* It includes power generation, international interests and environmental considerations;
* There were urgent decisions to be made and problems solved there; and
* There was well-developed water resources management already in place.
It was also decided that the Water Quality Control Program would be tried out on a pilot basis in the Western Cape Region, but with an integrated approach which considers water quantity as well.

By February 1998, since different groups had put forward proposals for a few possible pilot catchments, it was recommended that all 1998 implementation activities should be programmed in detail to assure pilot tests would be carried out during the second semester of 1998. The Director General determined that proposals for pilot catchments should be registered for approval.

By May 1999, the following preparatory activities directly or indirectly related to the introduction of the WRIP were under way:

· The draft strategy document for water conservation and demand management had been distributed for comments within the DWAF.

· Regional workshops were being held to consult on proposed Water Management Areas. Maps of the proposed water management areas had been distributed to the Regions.

· Regulations on Catchment Management Agencies were being prepared.

· An extension until 29th February 2000 had been granted to irrigation boards for submission of proposals on transformation into Water User Associations. A guideline document was virtually complete.

· Draft generic guidelines on advisory committees tasked with initiating CMAs were being prepared.

· The establishment of a Water Tribunal had become very complicated as the Act requires the Judicial Services Commission to recommend the members to the Minister, but they did not feel able to recommend people from disciplines other than legal, as the Act envisages. It was recognized that this would probably require an interim Tribunal and an amendment to the Act.

· It was confirmed that a policy regarding the eligibility for and application of financial assistance approved by the Minister was sufficient and that regulations were not required. The policy was finalized.

· The first round of delegations of power by the Minister, consisting of high level delegations required to enable the Act to be implemented, was prepared. It was agreed that second round delegations would contain conditions and parameters to avoid open-ended situations. Arrangements were in progress for a workshop to develop a strategy of how to hand functions over to the regions.

· A draft policy on the use of the surface water and the use of areas surrounding Government Water Works was internally approved and was being sent to the Minister for final approval.

· Draft regulations regarding dam safety were being prepared with the target of completing them by the end of July 1999.

8. Evaluation and Adjustments of WRIP and Capacity Building Program. As soon as the design stage is finished, the parameters to be evaluated as well as the evaluation activities should be defined.

No progress regarding this activity was reported neither in February 1998 nor in May 1999. It should be carried out as soon as possible, in order to introduce a total quality approach to the whole process.

9. Technical Drafts and Detailed Technical-Legal Discussions. Officials and staff from the DWAF would be keener to implement the NWB if they appropriated it early, by intensive participation in the drafting process. For example:

· The DWAF would be willing to enforce the NWB if:
* anxiety and “paralysis” is decreased by issuing an instruction that in the interim period, before the NWB is enacted, the 1956 Water Act is to be enforced, and guidelines to do so are provided; and

* participation of DWAF officials and staff is increased at ground level in the drafting process.

· The DWAF would have the capacity to enforce the NWB if:
* gradual implementation phases are established which feasibly allow users to comply with the Bill and the DWAF to enforce it;

* the implementation program is carried out along with capacity building actions (capacity building began even before implementation was launched); and

* a budget for compensating water users affected by reallocation is established, for specified cases.

10. Discussions with Users and Stakeholders. For the National Water Bill to be implemented, users must be able and willing to comply with the Bill. It was suggested that there is still the need for intensive and lengthy negotiations to strengthen, develop and/or restore the trust of the users.
· This can be achieved by testing the feasibility of:
* Charging farmers increased tariffs to cover the expenses of additional activities such as the alien species program or catchment management; and

* Requiring municipalities and industries to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments as well as to design, build, operate and maintain wastewater treatment plants.

· Discuss with farmers and other users, as well as other water-related institutions, preliminary catchment water re-allocation plans. Using alternative water use scenarios the impact of re-allocation could then be estimated and options for gradually using water more efficiently could be proposed.

· Explain need for licenses with time limits. The new role of Government as custodian of the nation’s water resources calls for flexibility of allocation mechanisms in order to accommodate future changes and social preferences in water use and allocation.

· Explain that South African Banks are willing to give loans to farmers having new licenses, even if those licenses are not permanent.

· Issue guidelines for the reallocation of irrigation water, such as:

* No compensation for reallocating water to the reserve.

* Water rights trading for urban and industrial uses. For instance, there may be a city or industry that demands water and could either buy water rights from farmers or get the water rights in exchange for investment in order to improve the irrigation efficiency, thus making water available to be transferred from agriculture to urban or industrial use.

* Compensation for reallocating water to irrigation to redress past discrimination.

* Cancel rights of water not being used beneficially, with no compensation.

By February 1998 the NWB was under public scrutiny, and shortly afterwards the Internet was used for this purpose. Ad-hoc discussions were shortly going to be held for catchment management.

At that time, the author suggested to discuss policies, guidelines and procedure drafts with interested groups as soon as possible. By May 1999, this was a common practice, taking advantage of the DWAF’s Web site.

ii. Implementation Activities Following the Enactment of the National Water Bill

3.29 The following suggestions regarding actual operation, from day one of enactment, were offered during the author’s first mission to South Africa:

· Prioritizing users. The approach to issue licenses for different user groups must be consistent with the national policy of redressing inequities caused by past discrimination. For instance, by licensing 10% of the users control could be achieved over around 90% of the water in the country. This would also mean that these users would be given legal certainty in their water rights. Large users could take care of themselves with very little DWAF effort, e.g. through self-registration via Internet, which is already available. On the other hand, 90% of DWAF’s licensing effort and resources could be used to help smaller users, such as small communities with very little capacity, to obtain their licenses and thus become eligible for governmental support in the development of their water supply systems, under the Water Services Act. The Users and Polluters Module, covered in activity 2 above, would be helpful in establishing priorities to approach users, regions and catchments.

· Prioritizing the declaration of water management areas and the establishment of catchment agencies. It is urgent to establish these priorities, since many activities will depend on them, such as determining the class, quality objectives and the reserve for water resources. Here too, the Users and Polluters Module would be useful.

· Linking water quantity and quality. Given increasing scarcity and pollution problems in many parts of the world, there is a pressing need to recognize integrated water resource management, by actually managing water quantity and quality in an integrated fashion. Regarding water use authorizations, it is clear that an abstraction permit will modify the quantity of water in some receiving water bodies and in turn their ability to receive waste discharges. By the same token, a waste discharge permit may increase the amount of water in a given stream. Moreover, it is insufficient to speak of water availability for a particular use that requires a given quantity of the water available of a given quality. Therefore, it seems logical that the administration of water use authorizations should be integrated by:

* Including the policies, guidelines and procedures that have been developed by different groups in the DWAF.

* Issuing a combined permit or license for both abstraction and wastewater discharge (e.g. Best Management Practices along with abstraction licenses for irrigation, or discharge permits along with abstraction licenses for industry).

* Bringing under one single organizational unit the personnel who deal with the technical aspects of water quantity and quality, and those who deal with the “business procedures” of licensing and all kinds of water use authorizations. Moreover, the head of such a unit would have the consolidated advice of the water quantity and the water quality staff before issuing a license or water use authorization.

· Organization. Organizational models should be built with a systematic approach, as soon as possible, taking into account operational needs of NWB, such as the following, which have been already detected by different Policy Implementation Teams:
* link water quantity and quality, surface and groundwater;

* create a Catchment Management Directorate, to prioritize, promote and monitor the establishment and operation of Catchment Management Agencies; and

* integrate substantive with administrative functions of the same activity, such as classification of a water resource, determination of resource quality objectives, Reserve and allocateable volumes, as well as licensing.

No explicit evaluation of these activities was carried out, but judging from progress in activity 7 above, it seems that some of them have or are in the process of being completed.

iii. Main Lesson Learnt and Next Steps

3.30 The approach outlined in this report, of simultaneously drafting the NWB while setting up the water rights implementation programs, has underlined the interrelated nature of the two processes. Anticipating the implementation of the new system should not be divorced from the drafting process. This is reflected in the continuous implementation activities which take place prior to the enactment of the NWB, on day one of the Bill’s enactment and throughout the life span of the new Act, and constitutes the main lesson learnt from this case study.

3.31 The DWAF’s program for preparing the National Water Resource Strategy was as follows: First draft framework document by mid May 1999. Framework document submitted for high level discussion by mid June 1999. First draft of the National Water Resource Strategy by the end of October 2000. This planning exercise would be an excellent opportunity to include a comprehensive evaluation of how the water rights administration system has in fact been implemented and if a revised strategy was needed to move onwards with the WRIP. For instance, have the implementation tools been finalized and has training of the DWAF personnel in the use of such tools been adequate? What is the opinion of users and applicants on implementation? Are there any bottlenecks that may be hindering implementation? What are they and how could they be overcome? Has the DWAF’s capacity been adequate or would it be useful and advisable to outsource some of the implementation activities to the private sector?


DWAF, (Basson, M.S., Niekerk P.H:, Rooyen J.A.), “Overview of Water Resources availability and utilization in South Africa”, CTP Book Printers (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town, 72 pages, 1997a

DWAF, “White Paper on a National Water Policy for South Africa”, Directorate Communication Services, Private Bag X313, Pretoria 001, 37 pages, 1997b

DWAF, “Mapping Status (1 September 1997) of the 1:500,000 Hydrogeological Map Series of the Republic of South Africa”, 1997c

DWAF and Department of Agriculture, “Towards an Irrigation Policy for South Africa”, The National Irrigation Policy Secretariat, PO Box 35660, Menlo Park 0102, 32 pages, 1997

Garduño, H. “Assistance to the Republic of South Africa in Water Rights Administration, First Report”, FAO, January 1998a.

Garduño, H. “Assistance to the Republic of South Africa in Water Rights Administration, Second Report”, FAO, March 1998b.

Government of RSA, “Constitution of the Republic of South Africa”, Act 108, Government Gazette, Cape Town, 1996

Government of RSA, “National Water Act, 1998”, Act 36, Government Gazette, Cape Town, 26 August 1998. This is the official version of the Act. Previous versions are referred to in this study as National Water Bill NWB4, NWB7 and NWB8.

Mandela, Nelson, “Long Walk to Freedom”, Little, Brown and Company, London, 768 pages, 1994

Schreiner, Barbara, Personal communication, DWAF, May 1999.

Van Rensburg, Eben, “Integrated WQ Management Information Systems (IWQMS) Portfolio. Strategy, Components and Status”, Internal Power Point document, Western Cape Region, Cape Town, 33 pages, 1997


i. The Need for a Training Program
ii. Difficulties associated with training, the need for priority and conceptual definitions
iii. Previous experience and current activities related to training within the DWAF
iv. Proposed organization

The author offered the following guidelines in February 1998 in response to a request of the DWAF.

i. The Need for a Training Program

1. During the drafting of the NWB the need for institutional transformation became clear. Some changes were in fact already initiated and more will be put in place in order to cope with the new approach to water resources management which requires the DWAF to handle its new tasks and to manage a new kind of interaction between water management institutions, water users and stakeholders. All these new activities will have to be carried out by well-trained personnel.

2. During the time leading up to the final enactment of the Bill, most DWAF units were actively engaged in policy implementation. Particular attention was paid to those aspects that need to be implemented from day one of enactment. Policies, guidelines, processes and procedures have been drafted, and instructions for delegation were designed to empower central and regional officers to carry out many of the functions and duties assigned by the Bill to the Director General. A pre-requisite to delegation is to train managers and staff in the new functions they will be required to perform.

3. A fundamental component of the policy of redressing inequities caused by past discrimination is to obtain in public service an employment composition similar to the racial composition of the country. However, because of discrimination the underprivileged majority has had limited access to education and skilled jobs. The result being that there are insufficient knowledgeable and trained people from this group. A realistic approach is to recognize that employment equity cannot be achieved overnight and in order to achieve it in the medium term an aggressive training program is vital. But the fears of existing, mainly white, staff who have been working in the Department for many years must also be recognized. Their experience should be profited from and a proper role for them found within the organization. This approach is consistent with the White Paper on Human Resources Management in the Public Service which was launched in early 1998 with the aim to transform “an over centralized, excessively bureaucratic and rule-bound” organization into “a model of excellence”, while recognizing that implementation of the policy cannot be achieved overnight and skills necessary for its proper implementation do not exist in all areas. The White Paper on Affirmative Action, issued also in 1998, will complement the national framework for a DWAF training program.

4. The required institution-building process goes beyond the DWAF because, according to the new approach, water resource management will now be shared by the Government with the rest of the water management institutions and water users’ associations within the Water Sector. Each manager in the DWAF must then define his or her role within the organizational unit, as well as the expected transformation and the personnel for each unit and for the related Water Sector organs. In other words there is a requisite for the definition of functions, job descriptions and the establishment of training needs.

5. The Director General will face two difficult tasks:

· Balancing the DWAF’s commitment to achieve short term results to cope with unsatisfied water needs and the medium term efforts required to build institutions able to manage the country’s water resources in a sustainable manner; and

· Balancing implementation of the equitable employment program and the benefits of existing experience.

6. The complete development of human resources should also consider training for immediate needs, education of technicians and professionals for future needs of the whole water sector, as well as children’s education and awareness programs for water users, stakeholders and society at large.

7. The framework for the proposed training program is outlined below:

· A conceptual definition of training for Water Sector personnel; and

· A proposal for establishing a small networking organization, including links between training and human resources development.

ii. Difficulties associated with training, the need for priority and conceptual definitions

8. The following intrinsic difficulties are very well known, but it is useful to keep them in mind while designing a training program:

· Improvements in work results due to training are not immediate and usually very difficult to evaluate;

· Training is not a panacea. An enabling work environment, with a proper organization, streamlined managerial procedures as well as competitive salaries and fringe benefits are also needed;

· Training events hinder daily operation, so bosses are reluctant to allow their staff to participate as instructors or trainees;

· A lack of appreciation for training is not uncommon:

* “I don’t need to be trained”; and
* “Training is 100% the responsibility of the Human Resources Department or the Training Unit, they will define the training needs of my staff”.
· The fact that there are 11 official languages in the country makes it necessary to translate training material and include simultaneous translation in many courses and workshops.
9. The Director General must make it clear that training is a priority for every one in DWAF by:
· Stating the following Principles:
* Implementation of the NWB and the new water resources management approach requires training to be considered as a permanent activity linked to the Water Sector problems and contributing to its institutional transformation and to the equity policy.

* Given that each one is responsible for transforming his or her organizational unit, training is a priority activity for everyone. This means those who have knowledge and ability will participate as instructors and that everybody should receive the required training.

* Most training will take place during working hours, but personal commitment is required from all participants.

* Training programs for regional staff will have first priority.

· Allocating required budget.
· Giving as much importance to achieving training goals as to obtaining operational results.
10. Training is the set of activities needed to provide personnel of the DWAF and other Water Sector organs with the knowledge and abilities which will enable them to adequately carry out their present jobs or move to different ones. Training can be classified in two groups:
· General training, which must be tailored to fit the general needs of different groups of jobs and specialties, but can usually be obtained in the training market. This includes:
* Information technology (use of computers and telecommunications);

* Managerial skill.

* Group communication which will facilitate the participation of users and stakeholders, and will contribute towards conflict resolution.

* Technical report writing, including:

- spelling and grammar;

- research techniques such as report structuring and use of references;

- managerial training, to enable managers to clearly specify guidelines and goals to staff members, and to interact with their staff in the production of understandable reports; and

- use of software for electronic group writing and editing.

* Working languages: Most of the time the DWAF staff can get by with English. However, the new approach to water management calls for more public participation. The required communication skills would be improved if the DWAF staff acquired proficiency in some of the dominant languages used by groups with whom they interact.
· Specialized training, must be closely linked to the specific operation of each organizational unit and this requires involvement of DWAF managers, because:
* Each organizational unit must be responsible for its conception, design and evaluation.

* Some courses or workshops for technical updating can be acquired in the national and international training markets, but even in these cases DWAF managers must get involved to assure the courses address relevant problems of the South African Water Sector.

* In many cases, this kind of training requires prior development of business processes and procedures, by the DWAF and Water Sector Personnel. Professional help to prepare related educational material is also required.

* In many cases the DWAF and Water Sector personnel are required to train as instructors.

Figure 1 shows the stages of a training event.

· Any training event must address relevant problems of the South African Water Sector, and should be tailored to fit requirements of specific jobs. The event must contribute to the required institutional transformation and the equal opportunities policy.

· First, the population requiring a specific training event must be determined. Then, a realistic estimate has to be made of how many candidates can participate full time in the course, without having to deal with daily operational responsibilities. This means that a candidate’s supervisor will allow him or her to prepare for the course, take the course and later to apply the new knowledge and abilities.

· Professional trainers can design the contents of general training with guidance from a DWAF Central Training Unit. Specialized training requires that DWAF and Water Sector personnel design the contents in full or at least do so hand in hand with professional trainers.

· The training material may be designed and produced by outside professionals, but must be supervised by DWAF and Water Sector personnel.

Figure 1 - Training Dynamics
Adapted from “Train-X”. Network, a UNDP sponsored cooperative network of UN Agency Human Resource Development Programs. More information: Philip S. Reynolds. Phone (212) 906.5866, Fax: (212) 906.6973, E-mail:

· The selection and training of internal instructors may be made with external help. Also, a good way to profit from the experience of existing staff, with many years in the DWAF, is to involve such staff members as internal instructors;

· To execute a successful training event, careful attention must be paid to every minute logistic detail, for instance:

* events must be announced with enough advance notice;
* professional training material must be sent in advance to trainees; and
* adequate installations and facilities must be used.
· Evaluation of a training event may include:
* event evaluation, as a criterion to improve quality, based on trainee opinion;

* trainee evaluation as a criterion for promotion and salary increase, based on attendance and performance;

* evaluation of internal instructors, as a criterion for promotion and salary increase, based on trainee opinion; and

* evaluation of bosses, as a criterion for promotion and salary increase, based on:

- quality of design and progress in the implementation of realistic training programs for their respective staff; and

- support given to his or her staff to participate as instructors and trainees; evaluation of external instructors, as a criterion for pay and re-contracting, based on trainee opinion.

* The final evaluation of working results, which requires the definition of performance criteria for each job and the comparison of relevant follow up statistics before and after a training event. This could be achieved by introducing a “total quality” approach to the institutional operation.
11. An information system must be implemented as soon as possible, as a foundation to:
· Short, medium and long term planning and programming. In order to plan and measure training progress and to facilitate links with development of human resources, pertinent data on each person and the training received as well as his or her career program in the institution should be included.

· Keeping records of internal and external instructors.

· Keeping records of training institutions and installations.

· Keeping a library of updated training material.

iii. Previous experience and current activities related to training within the DWAF

12. For many years, the DWAF has implemented various workshops and courses. This experience will be very valuable in feeding the systematic approach to training that is now required.

13. DWAF Policy Implementation Teams have already developed policies and guidelines, as well as business processes and procedures. This will facilitate implementation of the NWB and in turn will be the basis for much of the required training material. The following examples may be complemented by those activities carried out by other areas of DWAF.

· Abstraction and storage licensing. Detailed flow diagrams were developed to understand and show graphically the complex processes specified by the NWB which relate to licensing of abstractions and stored volumes of water. This work helped to determine:
* the pre-requisites for each step;

* interactions with the DWAF units and with other relevant role-players;

* where a policy, guideline, procedure or form is needed, which of the existing ones must be updated and which new ones will have to be prepared from scratch; and

* inconsistencies, which were be made known to the Portfolio Committee which reviewed the Bill.

This work has been shared with personnel in charge of quality aspects and licensing of waste discharge permits in order to strengthen coordination.

· Resource protection and source control. Several activities and studies have been conducted or coordinated by the Institute for Water Quality Studies (IWQS) to give the following results:

* A conservative estimate of the Reserve for the whole country (with low reliability).

* A procedure to determine a preliminary classification and preliminary Reserve, less conservative and with medium reliability. This procedure, based mainly on deskwork supported by minimum field studies, is nevertheless being designed to be legally credible and scientifically valid.

* A definite procedure to classify water resources and to determine the Reserve, based on more field studies with high reliability.

* A sophisticated procedure, with very high reliability which can be applied to water resources of very high value.

* Land management information system for monitoring and auditing.

* A review of discharge standards and a definition of licensing procedures for waste discharge and impacts.

* A definition of economic tools (discharge charges and incentives for cleaner production).

* The establishment of better management practices for agriculture, urban settlements, mining and others.

The IWQS planned to test most procedures in the Olifants River. A capacity-building program and the development of information in the form of documents and pamphlets were also addressed.

· Water pricing policy. A technical report and a communication paper for public consultation on this subject have been drafted, addressing issues such as:

* The new approach of charging all users, not only those supplied by Government schemes, and to compute charges based on return of assets instead of fictitious loans. These charges should cover the expenses of Catchment Management Agencies.
* Charges for land use which affect water availability, such as afforestation.
* Implementation of the new pricing policy for irrigation, namely to charge by 2001 full operation and maintenance costs plus 10% for a reserve fund, and to have users pay all future costs of refurbishment;

* Pollution charges and rebates for water returned to the source.

* Trading of water rights, including abstraction and waste discharge permits.

It was recommended by the author that a first version of the related guidelines, procedures and economic tools be developed and tested as soon as possible, and adjusted after public consultation.
· Strategic DWAF Plan for the Implementation of Catchment Management A document has been produced by the Director of Quality Management which, among other institutional aspects, has identified the kind of DWAF guidelines and procedures that will have to be developed for catchment management, as well as the interactions required between Catchment Management Agencies, Catchment Management Councils, the DWAF and:
* other national and provincial organs of state;

* local authorities;

* Non-Government Organizations; and

* community-Based Organizations.

* these guidelines and procedures will provide the required input necessary to carry out the following activities:

* training for a Catchment Management Directorate;7

7 The document recommends the creation of such a Directorate in DWAF in order to promote, support and monitor the establishment of Catchment Management Agencies.
* Capacity Building for Regional Catchment Management Staff; and

* catchment Management Training and Awareness Programs.

· Other related activities. All DWAF, and preferably all Water Sector, training initiatives, such as the ones presently being developed to implement the Water Services Act, must be coordinated.
14. The Director of Strategic Planning has developed a matrix, covering the whole NWB, which shows guidelines, processes, procedures and forms required to monitor the implementation activities and to verify users compliance. The matrix also reveals who in the DWAF is responsible for designing each of the above activities. The author recommended that a detailed timetable be prepared to follow-up with the preparation of these instruments and the relevant training materials.

iv. Proposed organization

In keeping with the proposed principle that the responsibility for transforming each organizational unit, and therefore for training, lies with the head of that unit, and given budgetary and personnel restrictions, it seems desirable not to establish a formal training center, but a network. The approach follows UNDP Train-X, namely:

· money is used to increase local capacity, not to contract consultants;
· training material is developed locally according to educational standards;
· training is linked to specific jobs;
· each training package is available for many countries;
· trainers in each country are trained to adapt training packages to their specific needs;
· central support is mainly for quality control and training to develop courses and trainers; and
· support activities are rapidly decentralized to participating countries.
16. The Train-X concept could be scaled down for a country like South Africa, where regions or provinces would substitute countries and central support would be provided by the DWAF. Moreover, the DWAF could ask for UNDP assistance. This would probably facilitate the use of many existing water training programs and packages, such as the ones available from UNESCO or WMO.

17. In a network-training organization each central and regional unit would appoint a full time person responsible for training, who is familiar with water problems within its functional and territorial jurisdiction and with the personnel of that unit. The following roles would be assumed:

· Each organizational unit of the DWAF headquarters:
* designs and evaluates specialized training, according to the unit’s functions;
* provides internal instructors; and
* contracts consultants to assist in training needs determination and development of training packages.
· DWAF regional units:
* participate with central units in adapting training packages to their particular needs;
* identify universities, consultants and other possible providers of training in their regions;
* are responsible for execution of training events within their territories; and
* promote and coordinate training for Water Sector organs within their territory.
· Central Promotion and Coordination Unit. A small unit, reporting directly to the Director General would be in charge of the following:
* the promotion, coordination, support and monitoring of progress in implementation during the training program;

* the identification of national and international providers of training;

* the facilitation of networking;

* the design and evaluation of general training;

* the organization and operation of the information system; and

* the provision of links with the personnel management system.

It must be stressed that, within a networking approach, this unit is a focal point for training, but all nodes of the network should share responsibility.

18. Training must be linked to human resource development, and must take into account the following:

· Encouragement and reward policies; and
· Horizontal and vertical personnel transfers within the DWAF and to and from Water Sector organs.

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