Workshop highlights importance of effective water resource management

Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, Judith Tshabalala, has reiterated the importance of the effective management of water resources in promoting development in the country.

“It is not the intention of the department to make the lives of our citizens difficult by going through the tedious journey of having to apply for a water use licence [but] we do it because we have been entrusted with powers to ensure that water is managed in the best interest of all citizens,’ Tshabalala said.

Tshabalala was speaking during a community engagement on water use license applications at the Westonaria Banquet Hall in the Rand West District Municipality, Johannesburg on Friday.

The workshop aimed to provide an in-depth understanding of the application process, engage on sustainable water management practices, facilitate networking opportunities and empower disadvantaged communities.

Tshabalala said the workshop allowed users the space to network, including people who applied for water use licenses, those who have been on
the waiting list, and those who have been experiencing challenges regarding water licensing.

The Deputy Minister emphasised the importance of water use licenses to ensure effective water resource management.

‘Activities that require water use authorisation include the development of facilities or infrastructure for animal concentration such as pigs, rabbits, crocodiles, ostriches, poultry aquaculture, the development of facilities or infrastructure for animal slaughter such as poultry, game, red meat, and more.

‘Additionally, water use authorisation is required for the development and operation of hatcheries or agri-industrial facilities; for an area of 300 square meters or more of indigenous vegetation in specified geographical areas; and of 1 hectare or more of indigenous vegetation,’ Tshabalala explained.

During the question-and-answer session, the community members and stakeholders commended the department for the initiative, saying the workshop will make things easier for the disadvantaged when they
undergo the application process.

However, they expressed their concerns about water regulations in the country, requesting the government take immediate action against those who claim to sell purified water in their shops.

The community members asked for government’s intervention in spaces where racism is rife and less-literate individuals are taken for granted and are unwittingly made to sign away their land and water use licenses.

The Deputy Minister noted the concerns and promised that a follow-up meeting would be convened to provide feedback regarding the concerns raised.

“We welcome your input and complaints with an open mind and we are very much resolute in our quest of addressing whatever challenge you have in water use licensing,’ the Deputy Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency