DWS calls on water users to update, register user information

10th March 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is calling on all water users to register or update their water user information in its Water Use Registration Programme.

The Water Use Registration Programme entails acquiring and recording information relating to the use of water by water users and is aimed at optimally managing water resources by asking four questions, namely how much water/waste is used/discharged, by whom, for what purpose and where.

The process will enable the department to have up-to-date data on water users and water use to balance against what is available for use considering water resources, as well as prevent water overuse which may, in some areas, result in endangering aquatic ecosystems.

“The registering of water users was made to ensure that water was used efficiently, effectively and wisely,” explains DWS National Register of Water Use director Khutso Mabela.

“In order to do this, we need to know how much water is used, by whom and where. Once we know this, we will be able to measure it against how much water is available for use.

“In some areas, we will then find that there is still extra water that can be made available for use. In other areas, we will find that there is already more water being used than the water resources can provide without considerable damage to the aquatic ecosystems,” Mabela continues.

According to the DWS, the registration of water use is applicable to water use licences and general authorisations for those who are discharging waste or water containing waste in terms of Section 21 of the National Water Act.

The updating of water user contact details is applicable to water users in the sectors of irrigation; industrial and mining use; domestic supply; power generation; watering livestock; and stream flow reduction activities.

Water received from a local authority, a water board, an irrigation board or another bulk water supplier are exempted from the registration.

“South Africa's scarce water resources are under increasing pressure. The National Water Act of 1998 gives the DWS the tools to gather the information that we need for the optimal management of our water resources. The registration of water use is one of these tools,” he concludes.

While there is no registration fee, late registration will be charged for water users among others who bought the properties but never registered their water use.