Move to fast-track Water Use License Applications by Western Cape municipalities to mitigate drought effects
The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane, has announced that critical Water Use License Applications submitted by the City of Cape Town are being assessed and given priority as a further step in ensuring water security for the City of Cape Town.
The Western Cape Province has been affected by an extreme drought which resulted in several municipalities declaring local disasters and a provincial drought disaster declaration being made in May 2017, in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
The Department of Water and Sanitation is currently assessing twelve (12) water use license applications for abstraction of water by the City of Cape Town. Of the twelve, three are for the abstraction of water for domestic and industrial use and the remaining nine (9) are for the construction of roads and houses in wetland areas within the city.
The Minister has communicated to the Premier of the Western Cape that the three (3) licenses for the abstraction of water for domestic and industrial purposes should be finalized by the end of September 2017. These licenses are for the Berg Water Projects, the Theewaterskloof Dam and future abstractions from springs. The remaining licenses are being assessed and will be finalized in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The department is also processing an abstraction Water Use License Application from the West Coast District Municipality for the Swartland and Misverstand Schemes. This license is important for the Western Cape in the current drought and is being processed and should also be finalized by the end of September 2017.
Between April 2015 and 25 August 2017, the department issued a total of 22 water use licences to the City of Cape Town. This demonstrates the department’s commitment to support the City of Cape Town to move forward on water resource management and economic development.
Minister Mokonyane has urged the Premier and local authorities in the Western Cape to cooperate with the department in order to mitigate against any delays that may arise in the finalization of the said licenses as they are critical in the current context for water security. Such cooperation entails the submission of information on water demand projections and plans for water use efficiency.
One of the key considerations of a water use licence application is the efficient use of water in terms of Section 27 (1) (c) of the National Water Act, Act no 36 of 1998. For the department to consider efficiency any applicant is expected to provide a detailed account of the water requirements and also indicated the measures to be put in place to implement Water Conservation and Water Demand Management.
The above interventions with regards to Water Use Licenses are an integral part of the department’s drought relief support to the province. Working with the province, the local authorities and with support of the National Disaster Management Centre, all efforts are being made to mitigate the drought effects and to guarantee future water supply and security for the province.
Source: Government of South Africa