The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) published a notice for comments on draft regulations on Government Gazette Notice No. 48294 on 24 March 2023, opening a 60-day window for interested parties and individuals to submit written comments.The draft regulations are on the access and use of the government water works for various recreational purposes including commercial activities such as fishing, organised sporting, tourism, accommodation and other events. The Department owns numerous government waterworks (state dams), and according to Section 113 of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998), the water and surrounding state-owned land of state dams may be made available for recreational purposes.
Subsequent to the public comments on the draft regulation, the Department will conduct extensive public consultations in all nine provinces across the country with the purpose of soliciting inputs from various stakeholders and members of the public with interests in accessing and using these departmental facilities and infrastructures for recreational purposes.Details on physical provincial consultations will be communicated in due course. The main objectives of the draft regulations, amongst others, include:
- To address the need to apply precautionary approaches to the recreational water use of state dams;
- To meet the need to utilise recreational water use of state dams to achieve economic growth, human resource development, capacity building, employment creation and sound ecological balance consistent with the development objectives of the national government;
- To meet the need to protect the biodiversity of aquatic and associated ecosystems and to minimise pollution of these water resources;
- To meet the need to achieve, to the extent practicable, broad and accountable participation in the decision-making process in resource management planning;
- To meet the need to ensure compatibility of recreational water use with other water uses;
- To meet the need to ensure the safety of recreational water users; and
- To minimise the associated risks of the Department.