International Approaches to Policy and Decision-making
Edited by Jayne M. Godfrey and Keryn Chalmers
Chapter 6: Potential for the Application of General Purpose Water Accounting in South Africa
Denis A. Hughes, Esther Corral and Nikite W.J. Muller INTRODUCTION The introduction of new approaches to managing water in South Africa (SA) followed the end of the apartheid government (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF1) 1997; Republic of South Africa (RSA) 1998), removal of the concepts of riparian water rights and introduction of principles of equitable, sustainable and efficient access to water (DWAF, undated). The South African National Water Act (NWA) of 1998 introduced the concept that the only rights to water are for basic human need and the sustainability of the environment and that these rights should be preserved before water can be allocated to other users. However, as frequently pointed out (Biswas 2008; García 2008), the implementation of new water management policies can be a difficult task, particularly when the changes from previous practices are radical and not understood by everyone (van Wyk et al. 2006). In the introduction to the National Water Resources Strategy (NWRS) in 2004, the South African Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry2 acknowledged the importance of information by stating that, while SA apparently has enough water for the foreseeable future, data on which to reliably base this assessment are incomplete and inadequate. This apparent contradiction highlights the critical need for readily available information for water planning and management. The overall responsibility for water management rests with the Minister of Water and Environment Affairs, through the Department of Water Affairs (DWA3). Part of the implementation of the NWA involves second and third...
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