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National Water and Sanitation Master Plan Under Development

May 27, 2021

Department of Water and Sanitation

The Draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan is likely to be tabled in cabinet for approval within the next month.

The human settlements, water and sanitation minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, made this known during the water and sanitation department’s 2021/22 Budget Vote Speech.

The minister described the Draft Master Plan as setting out five key objectives that define a ‘new normal’ for water and sanitation development and management in South Africa.

It was published for comment in 2019.

The minister pointed out that the Plan, once launched, will be known as the “Water Charter – ensuring water for all”.

“It is a redistributive instrument that ensures that there is equitable distribution of water, which would also result in increased water saving measures.”

Other developments highlighted include:

• Draft bill designed to set up the National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency to be tabled in cabinet for approval;
• Water Use Licences – necessary changes made to regulatory regime to give effect to the 90-day turnaround time with effect from 1 April 2021;
• Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme – appointment of a Chief Delegate and Alternate to the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission approved by cabinet – to be in place by the end of June 2021;
• Transformation of the water sector is long overdue – plan to fast-track the process.

Addressing parliament during his 2021/22 Budget Vote Speech, the deputy minister, David Mahlobo, declared that the risks for water security in the Integrated Vaal River System due to Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) have been substantially mitigated through the Witwatersrand AMD Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project.

“A review is underway seeking options and mechanisms to convert the Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project into a long-term, sustainable and self-funding solution, potentially converting impacted mine water into a resource that can be used elsewhere to promote social and economic development”, he said.

The deputy minister pointed out that a Mine Water Management Policy has been adopted and work is underway with sector departments on revenue instruments and mine closure to deal with post-mining water risk.

As regards the revival of the Blue/Green Drop Programme, full Green Drop assessments and Progress Assessment for Blue Drop will be done in the 2021/22 financial year.

“All municipal information should be loaded on the IRIS by end of July which will be followed by confirmations in October and moderation of the scorecards will be completed in November.”

A draft report is likely by the end of January 2022.