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Water Use Management

The National Water Act, 1998 (Act No 36 of 1998) (NWA) defines various categories of permissible water uses.

Water Use Licensing

GCS has many years of experience in the compilation of Integrated Water Use Licence Applications (IWULA). To this end, we have worked in sectors such as mining (coal, gold, platinum, iron mining, and prospecting activities), golf course and residential developments, municipal water supply and bottled water plants.

The company provides comprehensive services relating to water use licensing and the general water use regulation process, including:

  • Integrated Water Use Licensing
  • Water Use License Auditing and Amendments
  • Water Use Registration
  • Transfer of water use entitlements

Integrated Water and Waste Management Plans (IWWMP)

The Integrated Water and Waste Management Plan (IWWMP) has been compiled to assist mines and industries who apply for a Water Use License (WUL) in terms of Section 40 (1) of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998) (NWA). The IWWMP acts as a management plan and requires approval in conjunction with the WUL by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

The aim of the IWWMP is to:

  • Provide the regulatory authorities with focused and structured information, not only to meet their general information needs, but also to articulate the required management measures and actions to achieve the water and waste related performance on an ongoing basis
  • Provide direction and guidance to the water user on water and waste management of any activity

Water Resource Management

The National Water Act, 1998 (Act No 36 of 1998) (NWA) defines various categories of permissible water uses including Schedule 1 uses, generally authorised uses, Existing Lawful Water Uses (ELWU), and water uses requiring licensing. GCS provides comprehensive services relating to water use registration, licensing and water use regulation in general.

GCS offers the following services:

  • Water Use Licensing
  • Water Use License Auditing and Amendments
  • Validation and Verification of existing lawful water uses (ELWU)
  • Integrated Water and Waste Management Plans (IWWMPs)
  • Water Use Registration in terms of the General Authorisations (GA) in Government Notices published by the DWS (reviewed regularly by DWS)
  • Water Rights Transfer and Trading

Water Rights Transfer and Trading

Water rights transfers of a temporary or permanent nature will only be permitted where both the original and transferred water use are from the same water resource. GCS has the required expertise to undertake the water rights transfer/trading procedure from the initial stages to completion.

The process involves the following:

  • Identification of possible existing water rights
  • Negotiations with the relevant water users
  • Extensive consultation with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)
  • Compilation of the required contractual agreements (the purchase agreement) and other legal documentation
  • Completion of the required DWS License application forms
  • Compilation of the Water Use License Application (WULA)
  • Follow up and implementation of the application at the DWS Regional and Head Office

Water Footprint Assessment

Countries and businesses are facing numerous challenges with regard to water resources and the management of water resources. Good information regarding water usage of businesses, products, processes and catchments will assist in understanding the appropriation, impacts and pressures on water resources. Whether a specific activity or production process is sustainable or not, depends not only on the activity itself, but also on the context in which this activity takes place, and on how many and what types of activities take place.

GCS offers a wide scope of water footprint assessments depending on the needs of the company and institution. A water footprint assessment can be divided into the following four phases:

  • The calculation of both direct (operational) and indirect (supply chains) water usage over a wide spatial and temporal range, identifying types of water usage (blue, green, grey) and critical water components for catchments, products and water use over a number of periods and scenarios.
  • The identification of the direct consumptive water usage per product, sector or watershed. Water usage can be classified into blue (surface water, evaporation and groundwater) and grey (the water required to assimilate any pollutants entering a water body) water footprints.
  • Identifying the impacts of water usage and pollution within a watershed related to an activity or product by examining environmental hotspots and impacts such as contribution to scarcity and degradation (e.g. water pollution levels, eutrophication, and acidification).
  • GCS can also examine economic and social contributions of water usage providing indication of water efficiency and productivity (e.g. economic productivity, employment and basic human reserves).
  • Identifying critical impacts of water usage and pollution in specific time periods and critical components of processes; provide reduction targets and recycling and avoidance strategies for water usage and impacts; devise reasonable benchmarks and potential off‐setting strategies; and the development of water cost curves.