Water dept engages public on government waterworks draft regulations

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will this week host public consultations on draft regulations relating to access and usage of government waterworks for recreational purposes across the Western Cape.

DWS Western Cape Provincial Head, Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa, said the new regulations were published in the Government Gazette on 24 March 2023 for comment and will repeal the current regulations once finalised and promulgated.

Access to and use of government waterworks for recreational purposes is currently governed by regulations published in 1956 and 1964 under the National Water Act.

Bila-Mupariwa said the department owns numerous government waterworks (GWWs) state dams that are distributed widely across the country.

“The water storage components of these GWWs comprise the dam basin and a defined dam boundary line of the surrounding State-owned land.

“Section 113 of the National Water Act provides that the water and surrounding state-owned land of a GWW may be made available for recreational purposes,” Bila-Mupariwa said.

The proposed regulations are aimed at:

Ensuring compatibility of recreational water use with other water uses.

Ensuring the safety of recreational water users.

Minimising risks associated with use of government waterworks.

Protecting the biodiversity of aquatic and associated ecosystems, and to minimising the pollution of these water resources.

The public consultations will kick start with a virtual session with the government sector scheduled for 6 September 2023, followed by the engagement of other stakeholders on 11 and 12 October 2023.

The department has urged all stakeholders to use this opportunity to provide inputs to the draft regulations.

“While water is essential for growth and development, DWS firmly believes that stakeholder engagement is paramount for transparency and inclusive decision making,” Bila-Mupariwa said.

Source: South African Government News Agency