WATER USE LICENCES

The National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) aims to ensure that the water in South Africa is protected, used, controlled, managed, conserved and developed sustainably and equitably for the benefit of all persons in South Africa. Water Use Licences and General Authorisations have been implemented to achieve the National Water Act aim. Thus, Water Use Licences and General Authorisations are applicable to all persons and sectors within South Africa. The National Water Act and subsequent licence requirements are applicable to all persons in South Africa. To make this more understandable and better managed, the National Water Act specifies 11 water uses, in Section 21, that require licencing. This licencing can be achieved through a Water Use Licence or General Authorisation. In addition, persons may be exempted or deemed a lawful user of water in these categories. Any person that engages in any of the 11 water uses needs to be authorised to do so. Of the 11 water uses, nine are very specific types of water uses (e.g. taking water from a water resource or storing water). However, two water uses referred to as Section 21(c) and (I) require greater attention. These two water uses are designed to prevent pollution or changes in the water resource that could render the water resource harmful or unfit for its’ purpose.

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