DWS one step closer to establishing national water agency


The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) says it 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.

This follows the Bill’s adoption by the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and the National Assembly.

READ | National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency Bill: Explanatory Summary

The Bill seeks to establish the NWRIA, which will result in the ownership of national water resources infrastructure, as well as its asset management and revenue collection-related functions being integrated under one entity.

Departmental spokesperson Wisane Mavasa said the agency will raise funding for the development of national water resources infrastructure.

The NWRIA Bill w
as initially drafted in late 2021, after which it received 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 and 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 the key water sector stakeholders, to enhance the legislation and echo the voices of South Africans.

Mavasa said the department received over 80 comments, and these include comments from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), National Treasury, Labour Unions, and Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), a departmental entity responsible for financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects.

The comments were taken into consideration when the Bill was being refined, and 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,’ Mavasa said.

The department reiterated the assurance that the agency will significantly improve the provision of reliable water supply through effective rollout of national water resource infrastructure projects.

The main mandates of the NWRIA are to:

Implement water resource management infrastructure as identified by the department’s water resources planning processes;

Manage national water resources infrastructure;

Generate and collect revenue from the sale of water as its primary source of income, and

Raise commercial funding on the strength of its balance sheet and operational cash flows (actual and projected) for commercially viable projects.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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