Priorities to ensure equity in water allocation

Priorities to ensure equity in water allocation
3.1 Vision
The water sector vision for the National Water Resources Strategy 2, as
aligned with the vision of South Africa 2030, is:
Sustainable, equitable and secure water for a better life and
environment for all
3.2 Goal
Towards achieving this vision, the overall goal is:
Water is efficiently and effectively managed for equitable and
sustainable growth and development
3.3 Objectives
This Strategy strives to achieve three main objectives, as outlined in
Figure 3.
Water supports
development and
the elimination of
poverty and
Water contributes
to the economy
and job creation
Water is protected,
used, developed,
managed and
sustainably and
Figure 3: Objectives of the NWRS2
The objectives in the figure above address South Africa’s major social
and economic objectives as well as the need to ensure a sustainable
water resource. Each objective is described in the following sections.
3.3.1 Objective 1:
Water supports development and the elimination of
poverty and inequality
This objective is primarily about equity. The NWRS2 is centred on the
recognition of water as a basic human need and the recognition of its
critical role in ensuring equitable socio-economic development.
The principle of equity means that special attention must be given to the
needs of those that were historically denied access to water or to the
economic benefits of water. Equity implies a concept of fairness, which
allows for different practices in the management of water in response to
different social, economic and environmental needs. Equity
encompasses fair attention to the needs of future generations.
To bring equity to a practical level, it is important to address equity at all
levels, including:
Equity in access to water services
Equity in access to water resources
National Water Resource Strategy
• Equity in access to benefits from water resource
use through economic, social and environmental
development and management.
Equitable access to water or to the benefits
derived from using water is critical to eradicating
poverty and promoting equitable economic
growth. Little substantive progress on the National
Water Act pillar of equity (redress of race and
gender water allocations for productive economic
use) has been achieved since its promulgation.
Proactive steps are required to meet the water needs
of historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) and
the poor and ensure their participation in productive
water use.
Priorities to ensure equity in water allocation:
• Elevate the public and political profile of the Water
Allocation Reform (WAR)
programme and
strengthen linkages to broader government
and private sector programmes of redress in land,
agriculture and business.
• Implementation of compulsory licensing in
stressed catchments to ensure that water is made
available for historically disadvantaged individuals
• Utilise General Authorisations to form an important
tool in achieving redress and making water
available to small water users.
While all the chapters address equity, Chapter 6
addresses this objective in detail from a water
resource perspective.
3.3.2 Objective 2:
Water contributes to the economy and
job creation
South Africa as a democratic developmental state
has a responsibility to grow the economy and support
job creation towards reducing inequality and
defeating poverty. The New Growth Path (NGP) has
identified economic sectors that have the potential to
create employment on a large scale, and water is
critical for meeting economic growth and job creation
targets. The NGP looks to the green economy,
agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism
industries for most of the employment opportunities.
Economic growth and development have major
implications for the water sector, which need to be
• Economic growth implies that more water will be
required. However, water is not always in surplus
and growth will only be possible through the
optimised use of existing water resources,
expensive imports and/or re-allocation.
Economic growth has to be planned in the context of sector-specific
water footprints, which include water use footprints, various water
and environmental impact footprints, as well as relevant socioeconomic impacts and contributions.
All sectors of the economy will be expected to consider water
resource requirements and their availability in attaining a balanced
and a sustainable use of water resources.
The NWRS2 reaffirms the role and purpose of water, which,
according to the National Water Act, is to enable and facilitate
prosperity through providing water to the various social and
economic sectors for growth and development.
Job creation
The NDP has targeted that 11 million jobs should be created by 2030.
This requires each sector to develop plans and ensure that their
programmes have a bias for labour intensive approaches in order to
contribute to job creation. Job creation should be prioritised and remains
a key intervention on poverty alleviation, the eradication of inequality
and women and youth empowerment. The water sector has a key role to
play in this regard.
Potential for job creation grouped as follows
• Job creation through water infrastructure development: This
includes major water infrastructure, regional bulk infrastructure and
municipal infrastructure. Water infrastructure jobs, however, could
employ local workers and provide skills, development and work
experience at a number of levels, from highly technical jobs to
manual labour.
Job creation through water functional management: This
involves more sustained job opportunities created in functional
areas of water management, meaning that, wherever possible,
water mangement will promote job creation in areas such as:
operations and maintenance, water conservation and water demand
management, wastewater turn-around programmes, infrastructure
asset management, integrated catchment management and
resource protection.
Job creation through water provisioning to economic sectors:
The greatest job creation opportunities lie within economic sectors
such as agriculture, mining, industry and tourism. Water is a key
enabler in the expansion of these sectors, whether it is in relation to
large enterprises, small-scale or even micro-enterprises. Water is
the critical resource that is required for improved the viability of these
important high-water-use sectors, including the energy and
manufacturing sectors.
3.3.3 Objective 3:
Water is protected, used, developed, conserved,
managed and controlled sustainably and equitably
Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life,
development and the environment. Since the majority of the macro
goals are water-resource related (from a supply and impact
perspective), water and its management must form an integral part of
the development planning framework. The NDP asserts that South
Africa needs to move away from the unsustainable use of natural
resources. The NWA emphasises the protection of the quality of water
resources to ensure sustainability of the nation's water resources in the
interests of all water users.
National Water Resource Strategy
Protection of water resources is necessary for
securing ecosystem services for economic
development and growth and protection of human
and animal health. Protection of water resources
encompasses management of quality and quantity of
both surface water and groundwater and the
protection of habitats.
Threat to water resources
• A significant proportion of South Africa’s usable
water resources, including aquatic ecosystems,
have been degraded and most exploitable water
resources are utilized.
.• The already substantial pressures on fresh water
and estuarine ecosystems are expected to be
worsened by climate change.
• The protection of our water resources remains a
key focus of the NWRS2 and Chapter 5 on Water
resource protection will outline measures that will
be taken to ensure long term sustainability of our
The efficient use of water is also an important factor in
preserving water resources and ensuring availability
to achieve the South African Vision 2030. This had
already been identified as a priority strategy in the
NWRS1, and is critical in ensuring sufficient water for
South Africa’s needs is available. Although efforts are
being made to implement water conservation and
water demand management, they must be improved
to ensure that all sectors develop measures and
plans to save water. Improved water use efficiency
will require changes in the approach of all water
users, planners and regulatory bodies in South
Africa. The common programme to improve water
use efficiency is Water Conservation and Water
Demand Management, and this programme will a
have specific focus (Chapter 8) and will receive
priority in the NWRS2 Implementation Plan,
presented in Chapter 16.
Key WCWDM issues:
• The National Water Act recognises the pivotal role
of water conservation and water demand
management (WCWDM) in water resource
management, with the objective of enabling all
user sectors to gain equitable access to the desired
quantity, quality and reliability of water.
• WCWDM is the foremost Reconciliation Strategy
to balance water supply and demand.
• WCWDM can be implemented in a shorter time
than new infrastructure development and can
significantly postpone the need for new water
resources infrastructure and new water and
wastewater treatment works.
• WCWDM is more cost effective than new water
infrastructure development.
• WCWDM is important in the light of climate change
when more frequent droughts and floods will
impact adversely on the availability of water.
Development planning needs to be geared towards realisation of the
water scarcity in South Africa and value of water for all the
developmental needs. At present, water is not treated with high
importance and as a priority. This is reflected in the manner in which
water is poorly dealt with in national and sector planning processes and
budget allocations. There appears to be an assumption that water is
readily available at minimal cost, resulting in ineffectual planning and
unrealistic developmental expectations. Since the majority of the macro
goals are water resource related (from a supply and impact
perspective), it is critical that water and its management are an integral
part of the development planning and framework.
Steps to raise the water profile in development planning
• Water must be placed at the centre of integrated planning and
decision-making, with a specific aim to respond to and support the
achievement of national development and sector goals.
• Current budgets need to adequately provide for water, which might
mean they have to be doubled to cater for the present needs.
• Current financial values need to appreciate water as a scarce
resource and should thus reflect the real value of water. This requires
a new value system across all sectors and stakeholders.
• Water efficiency and curbing water losses should be high on the
agenda of each individual and institution in the country.
• Water management must be formally embedded in sector
businesses with associated accountability.
3.4.2 Alignment with international best
practice and approaches
In developing the Strategy, South Africa has sought
to align with new and innovative concepts on new
approaches to water management. The Rio+20
United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, held in June 2012, provided a strong
framework on which to base our approach to
sustainable development and integrated water
resource management.
Figure 4 illustrates South Africa’s alignment with
What is “Rio plus 20”?
3.4 Principles and Approach
At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along
with thousands of participants from the private
sector, NGOs and other groups from more than
130 countries came together to shape how we
can reduce poverty, advance social equity and
ensure environmental protection on an evermore crowded planet.
Rio+20 provided a chance to move away from
business-as-usual and to act to end poverty,
address environmental destruction, build a
green economy, achieve sustainable
development and build a bridge to the
sustainable future for people all over the world.
3.4.1 Developmental water management
This vision reflects and builds upon the principles of equity,
environmental sustainability and efficiency that underpin the National
Water Policy and National Water Act. The policy and legislation are
founded on the principles of integrated water resources management
(IWRM). However, within IWRM it is necessary to carefully interpret
these principles within the context of a developmental state, and to
recognise the linkages across the entire value chain from resource to tap
and back to resource. This gives rise to the concept of developmental
water management (DWM), which can be considered part of IWRM
principles in practice and which takes, as a central premise, the fact that
water plays a critical role in equitable social and economic development,
and that the developmental state has a critical role in ensuring that this
takes place.
• To facilitate this vision and avert a potential water crisis, specific
interventions must be achieved within the short to medium term.
• These interventions must be underpinned by the transformation of the
sector into an effective and professional water business environment.
• Short- and medium-term interventions should not, however, foreclose
future options, and the strategic balance between water resource use
and protection should be respected. The NWRS2 is the means by
which this will be realised.
International Assessments 2012
WWF, Rio+20 Water Security Workshop
Water quality
Central role
of water
Fresh water
Align with social,
economic goals
State risks
Technical ability
Smart, holistic
Collective sector
Historical experience
Water footprint
Concepts align with international framework
Figure 4: South Africa’s alignment with Rio+20
National Water Resource Strategy
3.4.3 Good governance
Governance in the water sector has political, administrative and
economic dimensions and includes the activities of government as well
as the interaction with water users and various stakeholders within the
sector. Good water governance requires predictability, participation,
transparency, equity, accountability, coherence, responsiveness, as
well as integrated and ethical decision making. The following actions,
objectives and approach will be prioritised and adopted in the
implementation of the NWRS2:
Establishment of an efficient institutional frameworkfor water
management will be given urgent focus as a critical component for
efficient water governance. Institutional arrangements and the
roles of different institutions are discussed in Chapter 8.
Clearly define mandates, roles and responsibilities to ensure that
some functionality and accountability is maintained as it relates to
local management of water by the relevant institutions and
Adopt adaptive management to ensure that changes can be made
where sufficient progress towards the outcomes is not being
Promote and implement a business-approach model of
management to ensure unsustainable water management does not
translate into risks to human health, service delivery, the
environment, employment, social and political stability.
This NWRS2 introduces four business principles that will form the
foundation of sustainable water resources and infrastructure management:
1. Striving for efficiency from source to tap and back: This implies
that the value chain from river or groundwater to wastewater should
be considered in its entirety when making water-resource
management decisions.
2. Implementation of life cycle planning and sustainable
management of assets and services: This must be addressed
through rigorous asset management and allocation of adequate
3. Sustainable financial management: Clear decisions are needed
on who should pay for what; and where and why transparent
subsidising is to be used.
4. Applying sound management principles and practices within a
developmental framework: This includes effective communication
and consultation, ongoing investment in skills, capacity and
education (short and longer term), as well as investment in
knowledge, information and monitoring systems.
3.4.4 Partnerships with private and water use sectors
Stakeholder management and partnerships with all stakeholders within
the water value chain is imperative. Neither government nor the private
sector alone can solve water issues such as climate change and water
scarcity. As a result, government and companies increasingly have to
forge new types of partnerships and re-think relationships with
stakeholders. Sectors must become strategic partners, commit
themselves to effective water resource planning, management and use,
and accept accountability for water resource protection and associated
actions.Taking the lead from the UN-driven CEO Water Mandate and the
experience of several large corporations in managing water risk, the
private sector in South Africa has mobilised to manage water risk
P latforms to be used to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders and a
common vision towards implementation of key actions of the NWRS2:
The Strategic Water Partnership Network (SWPN) is an innovative
partnership between the South African government and the private
sector, launched by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs
Edna Molewa (MP). It aims to enhance the coordination of efforts to
close the water volume gap in the country by 2030.
National Water Resource Strategy
The Water Sector Leadership Group (WSLG) is a
sector-wide strategic engagement led by the DWA.
This is a forum for consultation on policy and key
sector programmes
Provincial water sector forums are created to
broaden participation, address water challenges,
align plans and strengthen collaboration at the
provincial level between all stakeholders in the water
South Africa also has development treaties on crossboundary water management and support
arrangements with various funders and international
agencies, which will be used to advance various
aspects of support towards developmental water
management. They will also be harnessed and
sustained within the broader international relations
portfolio, which is addressed in Chapter 9.
3.4.5 Participatory approach
Water management operates within a social,
economic and ecological environment. For effective
and integrated management of water resources, topdown consultation should be replaced by citizens’
participation, which will be facilitated through
community forums and civil society organisation
structures to achieve the required balance in the
decision-making process, within a developmental
water management agenda.
Catchment management forums will be established
and utilised to strengthen participation of
communities and other stakeholders within a
catchment (see Chapter 9). This approach will
influence strategies to be adopted in ensuring
sustainable management of water resources. The
NDP supports active citizenry and emphasises that
the state cannot act on behalf of the people – it has to
act with the people, working with other institutions to
provide opportunities for the advancement of all
communities. This is a critical approach underpinning
and supported in the NWRS2.
Rationale for citizen participation in NWRS2 :
• Water is to play an optimal role in poverty
eradication and the reduction of inequality, growth
and development, and in building a just and
equitable society.
• Water development and management should be
based on a participatory approach, involving
users, planners and policymakers at all levels.
• The participation of the poor is critical in
eliminating poverty and ensuring the political
legitimacy of policies and strategies.
• This participatory approach is fundamental in
ensuring that development is localised and
meaningful for ordinary citizens.
• The meaningful participation of communities will
broaden the responsibility for effective and
sustainable water resource management and
serve to strengthen accountability from all.
South Africa's scarce water resource is protected,
used, developed, conserved, managed and
controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner to
meet global obligations and to enable the
national developmental goals towards a better life for
all of its citizens.
3.5 Strategic themes
The strategic themes are the means towards achieving the objectives of
the NWRS2. They address South Africa’s economic and development
priorities as well as the challenges that could impede the achievement of
Vision 2030. The National Water Act requires the National Water
Resource Strategy to "… set out the strategies, objectives, plans
guidelines and procedures of the Minister and institutional
arrangements relating to the protection, use, development,
conservation, management and control of water resources.” The
strategic themes address these issues and respond to national
priorities. These themes are explored in detail in the chapters that follow.
Theme 1:
Water resources planning, development and infrastructure
To ensure well-maintained and properly operated water supply
infrastructure is available to meet the social, environmental and
economic water use requirements of South Africa.
Theme 2:
Water resource protection
To ensure that South Africa's aquatic ecosystems are protected
effectively at different and appropriate levels, and that decisions
concerning levels of protection take transparent and just account of
environmental, social and economic well-being.
Theme 3:
Equitable water allocation
To allocate water so that historically disadvantaged and poor South
Africans enjoy access to water for productive economic purposes, or
reap the benefits from water use to prosper socially and economically.
Theme 4:
Water conservation and water demand management
To achieve significant water savings by all sectors through the
implementation of appropriate water conservation and water demand
management measures to meet the social and economic needs of
South Africa both now and in the future.
Theme 5:
To improve the ability of the DWA to regulate the water sector in order to
achieve the objectives of government, protect the resource and the
consumer and ensure the sustainability of water institutions.
Theme 6:
Managing water resources for climate change
To plan and respond to a changing climate and its impact on the
environment, water resources and the quality of life.
Theme 7:
International cooperation and trans-boundary water
National Water Resource Strategy
To advance the African agenda and to shape the
global water agenda while ensuring that in South
Africa, Integrated Water Resources Management
(IWRM) is implemented in a manner that conforms to
international water protocols and treaties as well as
the legislative framework governing water.
3.6 Execution
Execution of the objectives and strategic themes
takes place through the water sector as a whole
(public sector, civil society and private sector) and is
addressed in the chapters dealing with institutions,
finance, monitoring and information, research and
innovation, and sector skills and capacity.
Figure 5 provides an overview of the Strategy from
vision to execution. Core values and principles such
as good governance, partnerships and participation
cut across the entire Strategy.
3.6.1 Key enabling factors to support
Enabling factor 1:
Institutional Arrangements
To ensure robust and sustainable water sector
institutions that will:
• Ensure that water is protected, used, developed,
conserved, managed and controlled in a
sustainable and equitable manner for the benefit
of all persons.
• Ensure and facilitate effective service delivery
while supporting Government’s transformational
• Contribute to Government’s National Objectives
and outcomes, as articulated in the National
Development Plan (2012) and the National
Programme of Action for 2010 - 2014.
• Serve the public effectively and loyally, carry out
their responsibilities with integrity, transparency,
energy and compassion through active cooperation, and contribute towards sustainable
water management.
Enabling factor 2:
Financing the water sector
The focus is to achieve optimal investment and
ensure a financially sustainable water sector:
• Mobilise commitment for funding of sector projects
by the public and private sectors.
• Ensure costs recovered through regulated water
prices are pro-poor, reflect the economic value of
water, promote water conservation and deter
Enabling factor 3:
Monitoring and information management
To achieve an integrated monitoring and
information management system that supports
sustainable water resource management:
• To enable assessment of the current state of the
water body in terms of quantity and quality and
their variability in space and time.
• To provide information needed for planning,
decision-making and operational water
management at local, national and regional level
and in critical situations, such as floods
or droughts.
Enabling factor 4:
Research and innovation
Contribute towards providing of effective and efficient water management solutions that respond to the needs for water security and sustainability
for individual communities, productive use, strategic water use and ecosystem services:
• Ensure that water research informs policy development and strategic decision making at all levels of government and across the water value
• Provide knowledge and foresight on potential future challenges through research regarding climate change, population growth, energy
consumption, changing economic conditions and political situations.
Enabling factor 5:
Skills and capacity building
To ensure an adequately capacitated sector with a pool of diverse skills to provide solutions and expertise in addressing all water sector challenges
with a high level of competence for sustainable water resources:
• Develop capacity and skills to address all elements of water resource functions (protection, development, conservation, management and
Vision of NWRS2
Sustainable, equitable and secure water for a better life and environment
International transboundary water resource
Regulation of the water
Water is protected, used,
developed, conserved, managed
and controlled sustainably and
Managing water resources
for climate change
Water conservation and
water demand management
Water contributes to the
economy and job creation
Equitable water use
Water resources protection
Water supports development
and elimination of poverty
and inequality
Water resources planning,
development and
infrastructure management
Strategic themes
Water is efficiently and effectively managed for equitable and sustainable growth and development
Financing the
water sector
Monitoring &
Research and
Water sector
skills &
Figure 5: Overview of the NWRS2 Strategy from vision to execution
National Water Resource Strategy
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