The Department of Water and Sanitation engaged key stakeholders from the water sector to provide input to the National Water Resources Strategy 3 (NWRS-3) during a Consultative Workshop held at the Capital Hotel in Mbombela on September 13, 2022.
One of the key objectives of the consultative workshop was to obtain commitment and support for the NWRS-3 in order to improve the management of water resources in the country.
The main key focus of the NWRS-3 is to ensure equitable and sustainable access to and use of water by all South Africans while maintaining the water resource.
The Cabinet approved the National Water Resources Strategy 3 for publication and public consultation.
In his provincial overview presentation, the Provincial Head of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) of Mpumalanga, Mr. Fikile Guma, reminded delegates that the province of Mpumalanga borders two countries, the Republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini.
and that all rivers form part of internationally shared basins.
He noted that the Komati-Usuthu basin is shared with the Republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Mr. Guma further described the challenges of water resources in the province, including stressed catchments where demand exceeds availability/allocation of water resources due to climate variability and anthropogenic activities, deteriorating quality of water resources due to local government water and waste management, unauthorized water withdrawals, non-payment of water resource management charges, leading to huge water debt, and the need to transform water allocation to address the historical disparity in allocation among all racial groups.
The NWRS-3 workshop was divided into four commissions that discussed and deliberated on issues related to increasing water supply, managing water and sanitation services, regulating the water and sanitation sector, reducing demand of water, the redistribution of water for transformation, the promotion of international cooperation and the creation of an effective water sector.
institutions, addressing legislative and policy gaps, managing water and sanitation in a changing climate, improving raw water quality, protecting and restoring ecological infrastructure, data collection, analysis and information management for monitoring, evaluation and effective reporting, building capacity for action, ensuring funding, sustainability, and empowering research, development, and innovation.
The contributions of the commissions included the need for the government to enforce documented legislation, the need to accelerate the transformation and training of water user associations, the need to regulate all sectors equally, the review of licensing, increasing public-private partnerships, climate change adaptation strategies, speeding up the verification and validation process and the need to improve intergovernmental relations.
The outcomes of the Mpumalanga NWRS 3 consultative workshop will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainable management of water resources for the socio-economic development of the country.