Department addressing water quality management

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pretoria – The Department of Water and Sanitation says it is developing a number of policies to address and improve water quality challenges.

The department on Wednesday hosted the Integrated Water Quality Management (IWQM) symposium to create awareness of the IWQM and to share innovative experiences that can support the IWQM.

Themed ‘Taking Innovation into Practice’, the symposium also aimed to ensure that government, in partnership with private sector and civil society, secures water that is usable by everyone.

The IWQM has trans-boundary imperatives, as South Africa shares some of its water courses with neighbouring countries. It is also a determining factor towards the “polluter pays principle”, with implications for all polluters.

IWQM is negatively impacted by factors such as uncontrolled discharges from abandoned mines and mine dumps, as well as non-compliance with water use licence prescripts. The most predominant constituents of the negative impact include nutrients, salts, microbial contamination and urban runoff and litter.

There is also a lack of coordination and alignment of efforts meant to reduce these negative impacts.

The symposium and other activities linked to it are meant to look at the revision of the current Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) WQM policies, which commenced in 2015.

The department’s Chief Director of Water Policy, Marie Brisley, said they expect to publish the IWQM Policy and Mine Water Management Policy, which have been approved by Cabinet, for public consultation.

IWQM Policy

The IWQM Policy aims to elevate water quality and water quality management in the country’s agenda.

The policy also aims to formalise and institutionalise a common approach to water quality management in South Africa, support a consistent interdepartmental approach on how water quality is managed in the country and support cooperative and integrated approaches to water quality management across sectors.

“The policy will address operational aspects such as taking an integrated approach, broadening finance mechanisms and improving knowledge and information in the execution of the water quality management function.

“It will provide a framework to realise improvements in water quality in key systems and guide the development of IWQM strategies and resulting implementation plan,” Brisley explained. –

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