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Federal Rivers

Federal Rivers

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Edited by Dustin E. Garrick, George R.M. Anderson, Daniel Connell and Jamie Pittock

This groundbreaking book provides a comparative perspective on water and federalism across multiple countries. Through a collection of case studies, this book explores the water management experiences and lessons learned in ten federal countries and China. The territorial division of power in federations, plus the interconnected politics at the national and regional levels, present a classic governance test for waters shared across multiple political jurisdictions. This is increasingly important as democratic transitions have introduced or invigorated federalism across diverse contexts affecting more than 300 major river basins, including over half of the world’s international rivers.

Chapter 12: Meeting the challenges of equity and sustainability in complex and uncertain worlds: the emergence of integrated water resources management in the eastern rivers of South Africa

Sharon Pollard and Derick du Toit

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, water, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


South Africa is widely acclaimed for statutory water reforms following the first democratic elections in 1994. Flowing from the national constitution, the institutional reorientation ñ embraced largely in the National Water Act (1998) and the Water Services Act (1997) ñ aimed to address issues of racially-based inequities in access to water together with long-term sustainability which together constituted the cornerstone principles for change. Not only did the transformative policies highlight the socio-economic impacts of these historical disparities on the vast majority of the countryís people, but they also recognised that with 13 out of 19 basins either in ñ or approaching ñ water deficit, more holistic approaches to water security and long-term sustainability were needed. The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) was thus charged with finding a balance between the urgent need to address economic development while ensuring sustainability and inter-generational rights.

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