Course Description

Water Governance in South Africa

Download the Course Description for the Water Governance Training Course

Water is a finite renewable resource, and life on earth as we know it would not be possible without water.  Water Governance refers to the political, social, economic, legislative and administrative systems in place that influence the use and management of water. CBSS has partnered with the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA), to present a three-day Training Course in Water Governance, and 3 CPD points will be awarded to attendees on completion of the course assessment, which can be claimed through SACNASP or ECSA.

South Africa, a water scarce country, has adopted a law and policy framework for water which is regarded as among the most progressive worldwide. Our water law is based upon the constitutional recognition of the right of access to water and the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being, and ensures prevention of pollution and sustainable use of natural resources.

The National Water Act 36 of 1998 (NWA) places the water resources of South Africa under control of the Minister of Water and Sanitation, who is the public trustee of our water resources, and who is tasked to protect, manage and control the use of our water resources. The use of water is defined under the NWA to include both consumptive use such as abstraction, and non-consumptive use such as altering the beds of watercourses, using water resources to discharge waste, recreation, etc. As such, the Minister of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS) has the power to decide who can use water under which circumstances. Water can only be used under governance of one of four (4) types of Water Use Authorisations, namely a water use declared under Schedule 1 of the NWA, a General Authorisation, a continuation of an Existing Lawful Use (ELU), or in terms of a Water Use License (WUL).

Failure to obtain a WUL where one is required, and failure to comply with the conditions of a WUL, once issued, can give rise to severe penalties and risks for a company or local authority. There are however many constrains, difficulties and pitfalls in the water use license application (WULA) process that can hamper applicants from being successful with their applications, or that can delay the WULA process for years, or that can result in the issuing of a WUL that is not aligned with the site-specific situation, which creates difficulties with compliance, and has associated liabilities.

The Course is endorsed by WISA, who facilitates the granting of CPD-points to delegates that meet the requirements for participation and attendance.

An Assessment will be conducted upon conclusion of the course to ensure quality, and a Certificate of Attendance which can be used to claim THREE (3) CPD-points from WISA, SACNASP and ECSA will be awarded to successful delegates.

The Course has been developed to create understanding of Water Governance in the South African context. It covers international principles and concepts underpinning Water Governance in the broader context of our Constitutional rights relating to access to water, administrative justice, and an environment that is not harmful to our health and well-being. 

The implementation of sustainable water resources management initiatives and  measures in South Africa through environmental framework legislation such as the NEMA, and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), as well as the NWA, WSA, and relevant regulations under these statutes, including the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS), are discussed.

The course facilitates understanding of a number of relevant provisions in the NWA that relate to water use authorisation and the circumstances under which a WUL is required, as well as of the process to apply for (and amend) a WUL. Practical aspects associated with the substantive and procedural issues around WULAs, as currently described in regulations, procedures and guidelines of the DHSWS, including the preparation of specific documents such as Integrated Water and Waste Management Plans (IWWMPs), and regulatory requirements for water quantity and quality monitoring, the auditing of compliance with WUL-conditions, the amendment of an incorrect WUL, as well as aspects relating to the transfer of water use as well as servitudes associated with authorised water use are also covered.

The course content has been updated in 2017 to address the aspects contained in the new Regulations regarding the Procedural Requirements for Water Use License Applications (WULAs) and Appeals (GN R267), which were published on 24 March 2017.

The National Water Act 36 of 1998 (NWA) places the water resources of South Africa under control of the Minister of Water and Sanitation, who is the public trustee of our water resources, and who is tasked to protect, manage and control the use of our water resources. The use of water is defined under the NWA to include both consumptive use such as abstraction, and non-consumptive use such as altering the beds of watercourses, using water resources to discharge waste, recreation, etc. As such, the Minister of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS) has the power to decide who can use water under which circumstances. Water can only be used under governance of one of four (4) types of Water Use Authorisations, namely a water use declared under Schedule 1 of the NWA, a General Authorisation, a continuation of an Existing Lawful Use (ELU), or in terms of a Water Use License (WUL).

Failure to obtain a WUL where one is required, and failure to comply with the conditions of a WUL, once issued, can give rise to severe penalties and risks for a company or local authority. There are however many constrains, difficulties and pitfalls in the water use license application (WULA) process that can hamper applicants from being successful with their applications, or that can delay the WULA process for years, or that can result in the issuing of a WUL that is not aligned with the site-specific situation, which creates difficulties with compliance, and has associated liabilities.

Upcoming Events

Have a look at our Course Schedule and book your seat in our next Course!

Register today

If you need more knowledge and skills about water governance and water use license applications, make sure to register today for our next course!

Help Chat
Send via WhatsApp
Scroll to Top