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Water Use Licence Applications (WULA)
Marcélle Ferreira, Agriculturist, Obaro
South Africa is classified as the 29th driest country out of 193 countries worldwide.
The country is subdivided by the 500 mm isohyet* into
a wet eastern part and a dry western part. This results in the division of arable land to the east and primarily range- land farming to the west, where irrigation is required for farming purposes.
Furthermore, the influence of variable rainfall cannot be underestimated, as experienced last year as a result of
an El Niño episode. An El Niño occurs when ocean surface warming develops in the equatorial regions of the Pacific, which influences atmospheric circulation. In South Africa, these conditions lead to a weather anomaly of higher than normal temperatures, together with a decrease in rainfall for the eastern summer rainfall areas.
It is an absolute necessity that water resources have to be managed effectively in order to ensure future water sustain- ability. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources. The IWRM process focuses on decision making and incorporates water quantity and quality, water planning and water resource management. The basis of IWRM is that the many different uses of finite water resources are interdependent and that all parties involved should fully cooperate and work together to achieve long-term sustainability.
Water quality
Water quality is a vital parameter for the protection and management of water resources. Certain standards are set for various water uses, such as domestic, irrigation, live- stock watering and aquaculture. Parameters differ depending
on the water use as described by the former Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the South African Water Quality Guidelines of 1996.
Legislation applicable to water licencing
Legislation relevant to water includes the Constitution (1996), National Water Act (1998), Water Services Act (1997), National Environmental Management Act (1998), National Water Policy (1997) and the National Water Resource Strategy (2012). All of these laws and regula- tions are subject to the Constitution.
Application for a Water Use Licence under the NWA, 1998
The National Water Act (NWA) requires any water use and activity occurring within a watercourse, that is within the 1:100 flood-line** of any watercourse or within 500 m of the boundary of any wetland, to be authorised as stipulated in section 21.
The eleven water uses described in section 21 of the NWA that require authorisation are:
• taking water from a watercourse;
• storing water;
• impeding or diverting the flow of water in a watercourse; • engaging in a stream flow reduction activity;
• engaginginacontrolledactivity,forexample,irrigation
with water containing waste;
• discharging waste or water containing waste into a water
resource;
• disposing of waste in a manner which may have a detri-
mental impact on a water resource;
20 | Spilpunt IN LYN MET DIE BOER
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