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National Water Resource Strategy

The Department of Water & Sanitation drafted the second edition of the National Water Resource Strategy, 2013 (NWRS2) in order “to ensure that national water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in an efficient and sustainable manner over the next 5 to 10 years.” Chapter 5 of the NWRS2 discusses the protection of water source areas, amongst other things, and describes water source areas as areas which form “the foundational ecological infrastructure on which a great deal of built infrastructure for water services depends.” The Department of Water & Sanitation also acknowledges and endorses water source areas as being “strategic national assets at the highest level in all sectors.” One of the strategic actions which the Department of Water & Sanitation intends to take with regard to water source areas protection is to invest in water source areas .

According to the NWRS2 Implementation Plan, the Department of Water & Sanitation intends to invest in water source areas by exploring environment categories in the Protected Areas Act as an option for protection. The KPI in this regard is the declaration of protected areas of ‘water source areas’ in stressed catchments, either through the Protected Areas Act or possibly the National Water Act. Furthermore, one of the key performance indicators that will be used by the Department of Water & Sanitation in measuring its success in implementing protection for water source areas is an “initiation through cooperative governance for the development of guideline and regulation to endorse National Strategic Water Source Areas.”

In this manner, the National Water Act mechanisms, which have been identified as possible effective mechanisms for water source area protection, may be used in alignment with the commitments made by the Department of Water & Sanitation in terms of the NWRS2.