The Department of Water and Sanitation is seized in ensuring that water use license applications are fast tracked and finalised within 90 days in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncement in his State of the Nation Address last week.
The Department has thus undertaken preparatory work which amongst others include; re-engineering the current business process of 300 days to 90 days.
This requires a thorough review of the current process and making the necessary changes in accordance to the relevant sections of the National Water Act, the second activity is comprised of reconfiguration of the E-WULAAS (the online application portal) to align it to the revised process.
According to the Acting Chief Director; Water Use License Administration, Ms Roxanne Naidoo, the Department will immediately commence with workshops from this month and March in various provinces to capacitate and educate the applicants about the new business process.
“Starting from April 2021 all applications that will be submitted and accompanied by all the requisite administrative and technical information will be finalised within the 90 days turnaround time”, she stressed.
She added that human capacity is a bit of a challenge; however the Department is recruiting additional officials in order to fast track processing of water use licence applications.
The President’s announcement serves as token of how significant it is for commercial farmers, mining companies and other water users to obtain legal authorisation from DWS as the custodian of water in the country.
The National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) states that the following activities require Water Use Licensing namely:
- Taking of water from a resource ·
- Storing of water
- Impeding or diverting the flow of water in a watercourse
- Discharge of water containing waste into a resource
- Disposing of waste which may detrimentally impact on a water resource and
- Altering the bed, banks, course or characteristics of a watercourse.
The Department of Water and Sanitation calls on prospective applicants that require licensing to provide adequate information so that their application can be issued timeously.