The waters of South Africa are governed and managed in accordance with two laws – the Water Services Act of 1997 and the National Water Act (NWA) of 1998. The latter is founded on the principle that because all water forms are part of one  interdependent water cycle, they should be governed by consistent rules. Hence, this law contains all provisions which protect, use, develop, conserve, manage and control South African water resources.This  transformation focusses on a complete shift from central management to decentralised institutions. This also includes the setting up and establishment of Water Management Areas that are defined by hydrological catchment borders, and administered by Catchment Management Agencies.

South Africa has been contemplating the reuse of water for decades. A classic example is the 2016 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research article on recycling in Atlantis, an aquifer that contributes to the recycling of urban stormwater runoff and treats domestic wastewater through what is known as managed aquifer recharge. In 2007, DWAF published the National Artificial Recharge Strategy as part of the Integrated Resource Management Strategy for South Africa, and in 2015, the WRC published a guideline for the direct reclamation of municipal wastewater for drinking purposes, with a focus on the monitoring systems required to ensure the safety of the water produced. Both of these are valuable resources. There is also a great deal of information on best practice available internationally.

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