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• disposingofwaterinanymanner,whichcontainswaste from or which has been heated in any industrial or power generation process;
• altering the bed, banks, course or characteristics of a watercourse;
• removing,dischargingordisposingofwaterfound underground for the continuation of an activity or for the safety of persons; and
• usingwaterforrecreationalpurposes.
Registration of a water use is also compulsory, whether authorised as general authorisations (where prescribed), licence authorisations, or existing lawful water use autho- risations. It is not mandatory to register a Schedule 1 water use.***
Licencing process
The licencing process can be time consuming and is reliant on the complexity of the application.
The licencing process usually follows six steps as described by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) (refer to Figure 1). These steps were designed to test the appli- cation against Section 27 of the NWA which includes the principle of beneficial use in the public interest.
Step 1 – Pre-application process: This step includes
a pre-application consultation with the regional office of the DWS, notice to the applicant of all other documentation, investigations and the participation of other government departments that will be needed. With all the requirements for the application known to the applicant, he/she may now decide to continue with the application or not. The applicant may be requested at any stage of the process to provide additional information.
Step 2 – Application submission and initial assess- ment: A preliminary assessment will be made of the pos- sible impacts and benefits of the proposed water use.
Step 3 – Regional assessment: The regional office gathers all information required and makes an assessment and a recommendation to the national office of the approval of the application or not.
Step 4 – Evaluation by the national office: The appli- cation is evaluated by specialised groups who will sub- sequently submit the application with their recommendations to the delegated authority for the decision making.
Step 5 – Decision by the delegated authority: The Director-General of the department will make a decision based on all the relevant information.
Step 6 – Implementation: As soon as a decision is made, the regional office will be informed. If the application is approved, the licence will be issued and the licensee can
Pre-application
Detailed assessment
Finalise assessment
Decision
Appeal
Public participation
Request additional information
Application submission
Preliminary assessment
Figure 1: Diagram of water use licencing process.
now commence with the implementation of the licence, subject to the conditions attached to the water use.
Licence processing can take up to anything from three to ten months, depending on whether all documentation and information is submitted with the application, as well as the complexity of the licence. Licences that are issued earlier are generally low impact, high value licences.
Where you can register?
The forms required are all available at either the regional offices or on the website (https://www.dwa.gov.za/Projects/ WARMS/Licensing/licensing1.aspx). If it is unclear where your closest regional offices are, you can look it up on the following website: https://www.dwa.gov.za/Projects/ WARMS/contacts.aspx.
Conclusion
South Africa’s legislative framework is written comprehen- sively and righteously. However, the shortfall occurs with the implementation thereof. We as citizens must cooperate and comply to ensure water availability and sustainability for future generations.
Terminology
* Isohyet: line joining locations of equal precipitation on a map ** 1:100 flood-line: there is a 1% probability for an annual exceedance probability (AEP) flood in any year, to be either equalled or exceeded in the area. It has an average recurrence interval of 100 years.
*** Schedule 1 authorisation: reasonable domestic use, small gardening not for commercial purposes, and animal watering (excluding feedlots). The rule of thumb here is no more than 10 kilolitres of groundwater extraction per day (10 000 litres per day) for a non-commercial small garden.
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