- Policies and strategies
- Programmes and initiatives
The Department of Water Affairs as the custodian of South
Africa's water resources, leads the management of water
resources, and is responsible for the formulation and implementation
of policy governing this sector.
The department also has an overriding responsibility for water services provided by local government. With its vision of being dynamic and people-centred, the department is strategically positioning itself to ensure that the whole value chain, from "sourceto- tap" and "waste-to-source", functions effectively.
The department is also working closely with the agriculture, industrial and mining sectors to set water-use efficiency targets for their sub-sectors.
The National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS) provides a roadmap on how water should be used, protected, conserved, distributed and managed for the benefit of all South Africans.
The Water for Growth and Development framework sets the foundation and provides the necessary pointers for the review of the NWRS.
The 2013 review of the Raw Water Pricing Strategy will address the issue of water scarcity and how best to use water pricing as a tool for driving improved water-use efficiency without having a negative impact on small-scale or underresourced water users.
Groundwater is a strategic resource in many parts of South Africa, especially in rural areas. It also plays an important role in the supply of water to small towns and villages in the drier parts of the country. The Groundwater Strategy is designed to ensure that groundwater is recognised, utilized and protected as an integral part of South Africa's water resource.
The Department of Water Affairs supports a national rainwater harvesting programme, which has a narrow but important focus on the construction of above- and below-ground rainwater storage tanks by rural households for food gardens and other productive water uses. Several municipalities are already using roof rainwater tanks for domestic purposes.
The country has more than 500 government-owned dams
spread across all nine provinces. They range in storage
capacity from a volume of 5 500 million m3 of water down to
0,2 million m3 of water.
South Africa uses about 10 200 million m3 of water a year
from its major dams. The majority of water consumption can
be attributed to drinking, irrigation, electricity, mining processes
and industrial processes.
The Department of Water Affairs follows an integrated approach to manage South Africa's water resources. Proposed new water schemes need to comply with the NWRS, requiring that water-demand management programmes be implemented before embarking on new infrastructure development. Strict environmental impact assessments must also be performed in accordance with laws and regulations administered by the Department of Environmental Affairs, while the guidelines issued by the World Commission on Dams must also be followed.
Government has implemented key projects to augment South Africa's water resources.
- The Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority has procured funding to implement the Mokolo and Crocodile River West Water Augmentation Project's first two phases with a cost of about R2 billion, to deliver water to Eskom's new Medupi power station and other industries in the area, as well as domestic water to the Lephalale Local Municipality. The first water delivery is expected in 2014.
- On the Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal near Rosetta, a R2,2-billion contract was awarded for the construction of the 42 m-high Spring Grove Dam, with a storage capacity of 142 million m3.
- De Hoop Dam will deliver water for domestic and agricultural use in the Greater Sekhukhune, Waterberg and Capricorn district municipalities. The estimated cost of its construction is approximately R3,1 billion. This will deliver water to three million Limpopo residents.
In addition to infrastructure projectds underway in 2012/13, other dams and related infrastructure are also in progress. They include:
- completion of the water treatment works and bulk distribution system from Nandoni Dam in Limpopo
- construction of a pipeline from the Flag Boshielo Dam to Mokopane and nearby communities
- completion of feasibility studies and designs for the Umzimvubu and Foxwood dams in the Eastern Cape
- construction of the bulk distribution pipelines and reticulation networks from the Jozini Dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Groot Letaba Augmentation Project, comprising raising the Tzaneen Dam.
Water-related programmes and initiatives include:
- Integrated Water Resources Management
- National Water Resources Infrastructure Programme
- Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant Programme
- Strategic integrated projects
- Dam Safety Rehabilitation Programme
- Support for resource-poor farmers
- Rainwater harvesting
- River Health Programme and interventions
- Water Allocation Reform Accelerated Community title="Outside link - opens in new window" target="_blank" Infrastructure Programme
- Women in Water
- Water Conservation and Demand Management
- Enhanced Local Government Support Approach
- Freshwater Programme
- Monitoring programmes
- National Aquatic Ecosystem Health Monitoring Programme
- National Chemical Monitoring Programme
- National Toxicity Monitoring Programme
- Education and awareness
- Youth development.