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Water Sector Policy Database (WSPD)

Policy Detail Information
Policy Name: National Water Act 36 of 1998

Open Policy Document Open Policy Document
This document has been opened: 1 240 times to date.
Date Of Release: 26 Aug 1998
Date Of Expected Review:
Date Last Updated: 15 Feb 2007
Policy Type: Existing legislation
Policy Level: National
Department: Department of Water Affairs: Water Services Policy and Strategy
Contact Name: Mbentse Bekubuhle / Ndlovu Siboniso
Phone Number: 012 336 7451 / 336 7391
Fax Number: 012 336 6560
Email: /
Directorate: DWAF Chief Directorate
Contact Name: Contact Name
Phone Number:
Fax Number:
Topics covered:
Water Legislations
Policy Precis:

To provide for fundamental reform of the law relating to water resources; to repeal certain laws; and to provide for matters connected therewith. The law in its preamble Rrecognizesing that water is a scarce and unevenly distributed national resource which occurs in many different forms which are all part of a unitary, inter-dependent cycle; Recognizingit also recognises that while water is a natural resource that belongs to all people, the discriminatory laws and practices of the past have prevented equal access to water, and use of water resources; it acknowledges Acknowledging the National Government’s overall responsibility for and authority over the nation’s water resources and their use, including the equitable allocation of wtiater for beneficial use, the redistribution of water, and international water matters; it also recognizes Recognizing that the ultimate aim of water resource management is to achieve the sustainable use of water for the benefit of all users; it recognizes Recognizing that the protection of the quality of water resources is necessary to ensure sustainability of the nation’s water resources in the interests of all water users; and Recognizingrecognises the need for the integrated management of all aspects of water resources and, where appropriate, the delegation of management functions to a regional or catchrnment level so as to enable everyone to participate;

Section Summary

  Section Number Section Heading Section Description
01 INTERPRETATION AND FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES Definitions and interpretation; Purpose of Act; Public trusteeship of nation’s water resources
Entitlement to water use;
02 WATER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES Part 1 deals with the national water resource strategy: Establishment of national water resource strategy; Contents of national water resource strategy; Giving etfect to national water resource strategy.Part 2 deals with catchment management strategies: Establishmen[ of catchment management strategies; Contents of catchment management strategy; Guidelines for and consultation on catchrnent management strategies; Giving effect to catchment management strategies
03 PROTECTION OF WATER RESOURCES Part 1 deals with the classification system for water resources: Prescription of classification system. Part 2 deals with the classification of water resources and resource quality objectives: Determination of class of water resources and resource quality objectives; Preliminary determination of class or resource quality objectives; Giving effect to determination of class of water resource and resource quality objectives. Part 3 deal siwth the Reserve: Determination of Reserve; Preliminary determinations of Reserve; Giving effect to Reserve.Part 4 deals with Pollution prevention: Prevention and remedying effects of pollution. Part 5 deals with Emergency incidents: Control of emergency incidents
04 USE OF WATER Part 1 deals with General principles: Water use; Permissible water use; Determination of quantity of water which may be allocated by responsible authority; Licences for use of water found underground on property of another person; Transfer of water use authorizations; Regulations on the use of water. Part 2 deals with considerations, conditions and essential requirements of general authorisations and licences: Considerations for issue of general authorisations and Iicences; Essential requirements of Iicences; Conditions for issue of general authorisations and licences; Security by applicant; Issue of Iicence no guarantee of supply. Part 3 deals with existing lawful water uses: Definition of existing lawful water use; Declaration of water use as existing lawful water use; Authority to continue with existing lawful water use; Verification of existing water uses. Part 4 deals with stream flow reduction activities: Declaration of stream flow reduction activities. Part 5 deals with controlled activities: Controlled activities; Declaration of certain activities as controlled activities. Part 6 deals with general authorizations: General authorizations to use water. Part 7 deals with Individual applications for licences: Application for licence; Application for licence; Procedure for licence applications; Reasons for decisions. Part 8 deals with Compulsory licences for water use in respect of specific resource: Compulsory Iicence applications; Late applications; Proposed allocation schedules; Preliminary allocation schedule; Final allocution schedules; Licences replace previous entitlements. Part 9 deals with review and renewal of licences, and amendment and substitution of conditions of licences: Review and amendment of licences; Format amendment of Iicences; Successors-in-title; Procedure for earlier renewal or amendment of licences. Part 10 deals with contravention of or failure to comply with authorisations: Rectification of contravention; Suspension or withdrawal of entitlements to use water; Surrender of Iicence
05 FINANCIAL PROVISIONS Part 1 deals with water use charges: Pricing strategy for water use charges; Application of pricing strategy; Recovery of water use charges; Liability for water use charges; Water use charges are charges on land. Part 2 deals with financial assistance: Financial assistance by Minister; Regulations on financial assistance
06 GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF MINISTER AND DIRECTOR-GENERAL Part 1 deals with Delegation, directives, expropriation, condonation and additional powers: Delegation of powers and duties by Minister; Expropriation of property; Expropriation for rehabilitation and other remedial work; Condonation of failure to comply with time period; Dispensing with certain requirements of Act; Intervention in litigation. Part 2 deals with General provisions regarding regulation: Making of regulations; Consideration of regulations; Rejected regulations. Part 3 deals with the powers relating to catchment management agencies: Powers and duties of catchment management agencies vest in Minister in certain circumstances; Assignment of powers and duties of catchment management agencies; Directives to water management institutions. Part 4 deals with powers of Director General: Delegation of powers by Director-General; Appointment of persons on contract
07 CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AGENCIES Part 1 deals with the powers, duties, initial functions and establishment of catchment management agencies Governing board of catchment management agencies Operation of, funding of and delegation of powers by catchment management agencies Documents relating to litigation Intervention, disestablishment or change of water management areas of catchment management agencies. Transfer of assets and liabilities after change or disestablishment. Regulations on catchment management agencies.
08 WATER USER ASSOCIATIONS Proposal for establishment of water user association; Procedure for establishment of water user association; Constitution of water user association; Powers of water user association; Directives to water user association; Disestablishment of water user association; Winding up affairs of disestablished water user association; Transitional provisions for certain existing organtisations
09 ADVISORY COMMITTEES Establishment of advisory committees; Regulations regarding advisory committees; Transitional provisions relating to advisory committees
10 INTERNATIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT Establishment of bodies to implement international agreements; Governance and functions of bodies; Powers of bodies; Bodies must manage different functions as separate units; Reports on performance of functions; Investigation of affairs or financial position of bodies; Transitional provisions relating to existing bodies
11 GOVERNMENT WATERWORKS Acquisition, construction, alteration, repair, operation and control of government waterworks; Consultation and environmental impact assessment; Financing of government waterworks; Water from government waterworks; Access to and use of government waterworks for recreational purposes; Government waterworks constructed before commencernent of Act; Disposal of government waterworks; Regulations regarding government waterworks
12 SAFETY OF DAMS Definitions; Control measures for dam with safety risk; Responsibilities of approved professional persons; Registration of dam with safety risk; Factors to be considered in declaring dam or category of dams with safety risk; Exemptions; Regulations regarding dam safety
13 ACCESS TO AND RIGHTS OVER LAND Part 1 deals with Entry and inspection: Appointment of authorised persons; Powers and duties of authorised persons. Part 2 deals with servitudes: Definitions; Acquisition of servitudes; Rights and duties of servitude holders and landowners; Procedure for acquisition and amendment of servitudes; Powers of High Court in respect of claim for servitude; Compensation payable for granting of servitudes; Noting of servitude and amendment by endorsement against title deed; Cancellation of servitude; Joint waterwork involving servitude. Part 3 deals with waterworks and personal servitudes: Ownership of waterworks on land belonging to another; Transfer of personal servitudes
14 MONITORING, ASSESSMENT AND INFORMATION Part 1 deals with National monitoring systems: Establishment of national monitoring system; Establishment of mechanisms to co-ordinate monitoring of water resources. Part 2 deals with national information systems on water resources: Establishment of national information systems; Objectives of national information systems; Provision of information; Access to information; Regulations for monitoring, assessment and information. Part 3 deals with information on floodlines, floods and droughts: Floodlines on plans for establishment of townships; Duty to make information available to public
15 APPEALS AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION Establishment of Water Tribunal; Operation of Water Tribunal; Appeals to Water Tribunal; Appeals from decisions of Water Tribunal; Mediation
16 OFFENCES AND REMEDIES Offences; Enquiry in respect of compensation for harm, loss or damage suffered; Award of damages; Offences in relation to employer and employee relationships; Interdict or other order by High Court
17 GENERAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS Part 1 deals with liability: State bound; Limitation of liability; Amendment or substitution of instruments; Effect of delegation. Part 2 deals with powers and authorizations: Documents deemed to be properly authorised and issued; Documents and steps valid under certain circumstances; Service of documents; Repeal of laws, and savings

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