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Department verifying Province’s water users

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Through the verification process the department is assisting water users with water registration to curb illegal water use

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THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Water and Sanitation is in the process of validating and verifying water users in the Lower Orange Management Area of the Province to ensure that all available water is accounted for.

Department spokesperson, Amogelang Moholoeng, said yesterday that given the current water challenges faced by the country, it was important to verify and validate if water users were using water according to licence conditions, whether there was unregistered and unlawful water use and the extent of water availability for new and emerging water users.

“In ensuring that the stakeholders understand the process and the country’s water management strategy, the department is engaging the relevant stakeholder sectors through information sessions and public participation meetings that have been held since July this year and are expected to end by October 4.”

Moholoeng said the verification and validation process had already taken place in Britstown, Victoria West, Calvinia, Sutherland, Williston and Richmond.

This week the process is unfolding in Prieska, where, according to Moholoeng, there are many cases of unregistered water use and therefore large amounts of water are unaccounted for.

“Through the engagements, the department is also assisting water users with water registration to curb illegal water use.”

The department meanwhile will also meet with farmers, water use authorities, water boards and the mining and agricultural sector to discuss various water management issues affecting the Orange River.

Moholoeng explained that the Lower Orange River Forum (LORF) was established in 2003 after a toxic outbreak of disease in the Lower Orange River that resulted in a large number of fish dying.

“The forum was intended to serve as a platform to share relevant information affecting the river system. Since then it has become a major annual event on the water calendar of South Africa attracting various stakeholders, scientists and specialists on water management and conservation.”

Moholoeng pointed out that a major topic in this year’s discussions at the LORF was the much-anticipated construction of the Vioolsdrift Dam in the Northern Cape.

“Progress on the Water and Sanitation Master Plan which is currently in process and the new water tariffs for 2018/19 will also be discussed.”

A panel discussion will also be held on September 27 to discuss the role of water, agriculture, rural development and financial institutions in addressing the imbalances of the past in relation to land reform, water allocation reform and active participation in the agricultural sector.