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Resource Directed Measures for Protection of Water Resources: Version 1.0

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa


The Government of South Africa enacted new legislation relating to water resources at the end of 1998.  The National Water Act completely replaced previous water law and introduced several new measures.  Riparian water rights were replaced by an administrative allocation system, all water is considered similarly in the new Act as part of the hydrological cycle, whereas previously groundwater and surface water were treated differently.  Other important innovations were the introduction of the "Reserve" which set aside water for basic human needs and the environment, and provision for the establishment of Catchment Management Agencies.

Developing and adopting new legislation is one thing - implementing it is quite another.  One difficult question for example, is how is the environmental Reserve determined?  The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has been working on this and is in the process of preparing a set of documents for use in determining the Reserve.

These documents are of interest beyond the particular circumstances of South Africa.


The set of documents on Resource Directed Measures (RDM) for protection of water resources, issued in September 1999 in Version 1.0, presents the procedures to be followed in undertaking preliminary determinations of the class, Reserve and resource quality objectives for water resources, as specified in sections 14 and 17 of the South African National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998).

The 5 documents which are currently available include:


To access the documents:


(1) Go to the RDM project web site at http://www-dwaf.pwv.gov.za/iwqs/waterlaw/index.html. Zipped, self-extracting files are stored under the heading "Resource Directed Measures".  Also check http://iwqs.pwv.gov.za/wg/waterlaw/rdm/index.html (occasional difficulties with this site)

The sites contain a number of other useful documents related to the development of these RDM procedures, so feel free to browse for anything else of interest. If you have any problems accessing the site or the documents, please email Heather MacKay deh@dwaf.pwv.gov.za

(2) We know that access to gov.za from outside the firewall can be frustratingly slow, especially during working hours in South Africa, so the documents have also been loaded onto the web site of the Water Research Commission, Pretoria, at http://www.wrc.org.za/wrcrdm/default.htm If you have any problems accessing the site or the documents, please contact Francette Myburgh fmyburgh@wrc.org.za

(3) Please note that version 1.0 has only been provided in Microsoft Word 7 format. The official version 1.1 will also be provided in Acrobat format. We are not exactly techno-wizards on the RDM project team, so please bear with us in this respect.

(4) CD-ROM discs may be made available if necessary. People who are not able to access the documents via the internet can contact Heather MacKay deh@dwaf.pwv.gov.za for more information.


About the documents


Version 1.0 of the RDM procedures is for internal use within the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. It is a set of working documents which will be updated on a regular basis. This version retains editor's comments in certain places in the text. Version 1.1 is expected to be published in December 1999, and will be released for public comment and discussion. All technical queries and comments related to Version 1.0 should be addressed to:

Dr Heather MacKay,
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry,
Private Bag X313,
Pretoria 0001,
South Africa
Tel +27 12 336 8222
Fax+27 12 336 8678
email deh@dwaf.pwv.gov.za

The full set of documents will contain 15 volumes, as follows:

Water Web Management Ltd
1 Dome Hill, Caterham
Surrey CR3 6EE, UK



2000/1 Water Policy International Ltd -
Materials may be used with consent and acknowledgement.

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