On this page, you will find The National Water Act (NWA) 36 of 1998 Summary

  • Water is a scarce natural resource that is unevenly distributed and occurs in many different forms all of which are part of a unitary, inter-dependent cycle
  • While water is a natural resource that belongs to all people, discriminatory laws and practices of the past have prevented equal access to water and to the use of water resources
  • The national government is the overall authority and is ultimately responsible for the nation’s water resources and their use, including the equitable allocation of water for beneficial use, the redistribution of water, and international water matters
  • The ultimate aim of water resources management is to achieve the sustainable use of water for the benefit of all users
  • Protection of the quality of water resources is necessary to ensure sustainability in the interests of all water users
  • All aspects of water resources need to be managed in an integrated way, and, where appropriate, management functions need to be delegated to a regional or catchment level to enable everyone to participate.

The main purpose of the NWA is to ensure that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in ways that take account of, amongst other factors:

  • meeting the basic human needs of present and future generations
  • promoting equitable access to water
  • redressing the results of past racial and gender discrimination
  • promoting the efficient, sustainable and beneficial use of water in the public interest
  • facilitating social and economic development
  • providing for the growing demand for water use
  • protecting aquatic and associated ecosystems and their biological diversity
  • reducing and preventing pollution and degradation of water resources
  • meeting international obligations
  • promoting dam safety
  • managing floods and droughts,

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