FAOLEX Database

Framework Law

The main law applicable to water resources management, which covers all of the following areas: administration; management, conservation and use of freshwater resources; water rights; waterworks; water supply
Date of original text: 20 August 1998 (2013)

Constitutional provisions

Date of text: 18 December 1996

Right to water: Art. 27.2-3 explicitly recognizes the right of everyone to have access to sufficient food and water. Progress on the realisation of these rights shall be monitored by the South African Human Rights Commission (Art. 184).

Natural resources: Article 24 affirms the right of everyone have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that, among other things, secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development. Property rights may be affected legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform to redress the results of past racial discrimination (Art. 25).


Water used for irrigation, forestry and aquaculture

Water Supply and Sanitation

Provision of water services by public utilities or commercial organizations; water supply for domestic, industrial or other purposes; right to safe and clean drinking water and basic sanitation; quality of piped water; sewerage
Date of text: 27 November 1997


The political, social, economic and administrative systems that govern water management and conservation; good practices; good governance; decentralization; water user’s associations
Date of text: 27 November 1997


Waterworks; water supply systems; dams; hydropower systems; irrigation systems

Water Resources Management and Water Rights

Ownership and control of water resources; abstraction and diversion of water; allocation and quotas; riparian rights; priority of rights; free water use
Date of text: 12 November 1999

Water and Environment

Water in environmentally-sensitive areas; ‘water demand’ by ecosystems; protection forests; water conservation zones; environmental impact assessment

Water Quality and Pollution Control

Control of pollution and quality of freshwater bodies and groundwater; agricultural point and non-point sources of pollution; water quality standards


Freshwater resources located below the surface of the earth; aquifers; groundwater abstraction; well-sinking; boreholes; hydrogeology

Disaster Resilience

Water-related hazards; flood; drought; water shortage; adaptation to climate change; early warning system/emergency intervention system

Transboundary Waters

Transboundary effects; international basin institutions; international agreements; transboundary coordination; transboundary aquifers