DWS set to submit NWRIA Bill to Presidency

20th May 2024 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Following the adoption of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA) Bill, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is preparing to submit it to President Cyril Ramaphosa for final sign-off.

The Bill, which aims to establish the NWRIA to ensure sustainable, equitable and reliable supply of water from national water resources infrastructure, was adopted earlier in May by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and the National Assembly.

Its adoption there was followed shortly thereafter adoption by the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation, and Human Settlements, and the National Council of Provinces.

“Now that the Bill has been adopted, this means that we will submit it to President Cyril Ramaphosa for his sign off. Once that happens, the Bill will become law which will entail that we move with the establishment of the agency,” said DWS spokesperson Wisane Mavasa.

Initially drafted in 2021, the NWRIA Bill received a preliminary certification from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor in April 2022, which enabled the DWS to start the Cabinet process to seek approval to undertake public consultations.

The department had 120 days of comprehensive, all-inclusive public consultations, which resulted in more than 80 comments from the National Economic Development and Labour Council, National Treasury, labour unions and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, besides others, which were taken into consideration when the Bill was being refined.

In June 2023, Cabinet approved the Bill for introduction to Parliament.

The establishment of the new agency will result in the ownership of national water resource infrastructure, as well as its asset management and revenue collection-related functions, being integrated under one entity, enabling the provision of reliable water supply through effective deployment of national water resource infrastructure projects.

The main mandates of the NWRIA are to implement water resource management infrastructure as identified by the department’s water resources planning processes; manage national water resources infrastructure; generate and collect revenue from the sale of water as its primary source of income; and raise commercial funding on the strength of its balance sheet and operational actual and projected cash flows for commercially viable projects.