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DWS one step closer to establishing national water agency

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The Department of Water and Sanitation has announced that it has moved a step closer to the establishment of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency, a move aimed at ensuring a sustainable, equitable and reliable supply of water from national water resources infrastructure.

File picture: Pixabay

THE DEPARTMENT of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has announced that it has moved another step closer to the establishment of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA), a move aimed at ensuring a sustainable, equitable and reliable supply of water from national water resources infrastructure.

The NWRIA Bill, which seeks to establish the agency, was recently adopted by the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements, and the National Council of Provinces. This follows the bill’s earlier adoption by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and the National Assembly.

The NWRIA, once established, will integrate the ownership of national water resources infrastructure, its asset management and revenue collection-related functions under one entity.

DWS spokesperson Wisane Mavasa stated that the agency will raise funding for the development of national water resources infrastructure.

The NWRIA Bill was initially drafted in late 2021 and received preliminary certification from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor in April 2022. This certification initiated the Cabinet process and approval to conduct public consultations.

The department conducted public consultations for a period of 120 days, aimed at gathering meaningful inputs from the public, the key water sector stakeholders, to enhance the legislation and represent the voices of South Africans.

Mavasa revealed that the department received over 80 comments, including those from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), National Treasury, labour unions, and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), a departmental entity responsible for financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects. These comments were considered during the refinement of the bill.

In June 2023, the Cabinet approved the bill for introduction to Parliament. “Now that the bill has been adopted, this means that we will submit it to President Cyril Ramaphosa for his sign-off. Once that happens, the bill will become law, which will entail that we move with the establishment for the agency,” Mavasa said.

The department reiterated its assurance that the agency will significantly improve the provision of reliable water supply through the effective roll-out of national water resource infrastructure projects.

The primary responsibilities of the NWRIA include:

• Executing water resource management infrastructure as outlined by the department’s water resources planning procedures;

• Overseeing the infrastructure of national water resources;

• Generating and accumulating income primarily from water sales, and

• Securing commercial financing based on its financial statement strength and operational cash flows (both current and forecasted) for projects that are commercially feasible.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

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