South Africa potentially has sufficient water resources, but it had to be secured through extended and smart water management options, Cabinet said on Friday, as it approved the gazetting of the draft National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS-2) for input and comments.
The NWRS-2 sets out the strategic direction for water resources management in the country, with a particular focus on priorities and aims for the period 2013 to 2017.
The strategy provides a framework for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of water resources for South Africa, as well as the framework within which water must be managed at catchment level, in defined water management areas.
The National Planning Commission (NPC), which was tasked with setting out a long-term country plan for South Africa, identified water as a constraint to development in its diagnostics overview, which preceded its draft National Development Plan.
It stated that South Africa’s water use at 31% of available resources was high by world standards and that the country would face a binding water constraint as it approached use of 40% of average yearly availability.
Besides investing in new infrastructure, the NPC said that the country would have to improve water resource management and promote more efficient municipal, agricultural and industrial usage of water to protect the resource from pollution.
The first NWRS was published in 2004, and it is subject to review every five years.