Gauteng and NW Province

Revision of General Authorisations in terms of section 39 of the National Water Act

Published on: October 9, 2013

On 6 September 2013, the Department of Environmental Affairs published a notice to revise certain General Authorisations under the National Water Act, 1998.  The revision relates to the following water uses:

  • Engaging in the irrigation of any land with waste or water containing waste generated through any industrial activity or by a waterwork (controlled activity);
  • Discharging waste or water containing waste into a water resource through a pipe, canal, sewer or other conduit;
  • Disposing in any manner of water which contains waste from, or which has been heated in, any industrial or power generation process;
  • Disposing of waste in a manner which may detrimentally impact on a water resource; and
  • Removing, discharging or disposing of water found underground if it is necessary for the efficient continuation of an activity or for the safety of people.

The revision includes changes to improve protection of our water resources such as:

  • Limiting the application of General Authorisations to sites located further than a 500m radius from the boundary of a wetland.  Previously this only applied to the General Authorisations for impeding or diverting the flow of water in a watercourse and altering the beds, banks or characteristics of a watercourse;
  • Requiring water users to report incidents which have or are likely to have a detrimental impact on water resource quality to the responsible authority within 24 hours; and
  • Expanding the list of water resources into which domestic and industrial wastewater may not be discharged.

It also includes general changes such as:

  • Updating precautionary practices and wastewater sampling standards to be followed by water users;
  • Updating the Department’s contact details; and
  • Requiring records to be kept for five years (instead of three years).

The revised general authorisations will be applicable for a period of five years from the date of publication of this notice.

Every one of us should take responsibility and conserve water. Some can harvest water and get off the grid and other can harvest rainwater into a small water tank. It doesn’t matter how big or small, what matters is that you save water. Grey water is perfect for irrigation purposes, use it, don’t waste it. There is such a big variety of water tanks on the market; from galvanized steel water tanks to plastic Jojo water tanks,  you will definitely find one that suits your style.

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