Facts and Statistics

South Africa’s waters are governed by the Water Services Act of 1997 and the National Water Act (NWA) of 1998. The NWA is founded on the principle that all water forms part of a unitary, interdependent water cycle, and should thus be governed under consistent rules. It contains comprehensive provisions for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of South African water resources. The strategic objectives are stipulated in the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS; DWAF 2013). Transformation in the water resource sector includes a shift from central management to decentralised institutions, including the establishment of Water Management Areas, defined largely by hydrological catchment borders, and administered by Catchment Management Agencies.
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Annual rain in South Africa
Annual rain in South Africa
South Africa has been thinking about and working on reusing water for decades, as described, for example in a 2016 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research article on recycling in Atlantis, an aquifer in the Western Cape. The aquifer contributes to the recycling of urban stormwater runoff and treated 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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