Comments sought on use of government waterworks regulations

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is inviting the public to comment on the draft regulations on access and use of government waterworks (State dams) and surrounding State-owned land for recreational purposes.

The department published the draft regulations in the Government Gazette on 24 March 2023.

The department owns numerous government waterworks, and according to Section 113 of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998), the water and surrounding State-owned land may be made available for recreational purposes.

The department will be conducting extensive public consultations on these draft regulations in all nine provinces across the country.

“The purpose of the national consultations is to solicit inputs from various stakeholders and members of the public who have interests in accessing and using these departmental infrastructures for recreational purposes. Details on physical provincial consultations will be communicated in due course,” it said.

The main objectives of the draft regulations include:

Addressing the need to apply precautionary approaches to recreational water use of State dams;

Utilising recreational water use of State dams to achieve economic growth, human resource development, capacity building, employment creation and sound ecological balance, consistent with the development objectives of national government;

Protecting the biodiversity of aquatic and associated ecosystems and to minimise pollution of these water resources;

Achieving, to the extent practicable, broad and accountable participation in the decision-making process in resource management planning;

Ensuring compatibility of recreational water use with other water uses;

Ensuring the safety of recreational water users, and

Minimising the associated risks of the department.

Written comments can be emailed to, and by 23 May 2023.

Hydropower generation

Meanwhile, a briefing session, which seeks to provide interested applicants with information about the DWS Hydropower Independent Producer Programme (DWS HIPP) and its application process, will be held today.

The DWS HIPP has been initiated in an effort to allow for the available water infrastructure and water courses, including rivers and dams, to be used to contribute to the power grid with renewable energy.

During the hybrid briefing session, to be held at Protea Hotel OR Tambo in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, Independent Power Producers (IPP) will be taken through the process of how to apply for water use authorisations to utilise water resources to generate hydropower as an alternative energy to supplement the current available electricity.

The department is inviting interested persons to make use of its water resources, watercourses and infrastructure to generate renewable energy power.

The types of hydropower technologies to apply for include Impoundment; river diversion or run-of-river; pumped storage and floating or kinetic turbines (small scale generating capacity). In addition, applications for floating solar panels can also be made.

A window for interested parties to submit pre-applications for water use authorisations will open on 17 April 2023.

Source: South African Government News Agency