Water and Sanitation Department is one step closer to establishing the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency | Infrastructure news

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is one step closer to establishing the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA), to ensure sustainable, equitable and reliable supply of water from national water resources infrastructure. The NWRIA Bill 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, following the adoption by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and the National Assembly.

The Bill seeks to establish the NWRIA, which will result in the ownership of national water resource infrastructure, as well as its asset management and revenue collection related functions, being integrated under one entity. The NWRIA will be able to raise finance for development of national water resource infrastructure.

The NWRIA Bill was initially drafted in late 2021, after which it received a preliminary certification from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor in April 2022. The certification set the wheels in motion for the Department of Water and Sanitation to commence with the Cabinet process, to seek approval to conduct public consultations. The Department had comprehensive, all-inclusive public consultations, for a period of 120 days, aimed at soliciting meaningful inputs from the public, as key water sector stakeholders, to enhance the legislation and echo the voices of South Africans.

The Department received over 80 comments, including from NEDLAC, National Treasury, Labour Unions and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), a DWS entity responsible for financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects. The comments were taken into consideration when the Bill was being refined. In June 2023, 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,” said Wisane Mavasa, departmental spokesperson.

The Department reinforced the assurance that the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency will significantly improve the provision of reliable water supply through effective rollout of national water resource infrastructure projects.

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