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Wageningen University (2009)

Allocating contested water : a case study on the (non-) compliance with environmental water allocations in the sand sub-catchment, South Africa

Agterkamp, J.W.

Titre : Allocating contested water : a case study on the (non-) compliance with environmental water allocations in the sand sub-catchment, South Africa

Auteur : Agterkamp, J.W.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2009

Résumé
After abolishing apartheid a new water policy framework was drafted. One of the main elements of the new water framework is the Reserve. The focus of this research is on the Ecological Reserve. A comprehensive Reserve determination is currently underway and due for completion in November 2009. Recently, South Africa is turning its attention to implementation of the new water legislation. However, implementing and meeting the Reserve is proven to be difficult. The new water policy faces a difficult transition period. Despite the new water policy framework, the water in the catchment is not managed according to new water legislation. There is a gap between actual water distribution and the desired distribution according to the new water legislation. The focus of this research is on the Sand catchment, a sub catchment of the Inkomati catchment. The Sand catchment is a relatively dry catchment with limited water resources and a large semiurban population. The main water user is the irrigation sector which is a relic from the homelands. Due to the limited water resources combined with a growing population there is a strong competition for water. The Sand catchment is in water deficit, especially during times of low river flow. Several strategies have been put in place to solve the water deficit and to address the Reserve ; 1) Inter Basin Transfer, 2) Operating Rules, and 3) water licensing. In the near future the domestic demand in the Sand catchment will be supplied through the Inter Basin Transfer. The remaining water user is the irrigation sector (and forestry). Meeting the Reserve in the Sand catchment is only possible by limiting water abstraction of other water users. One of the ways to limit the irrigation water abstraction is by implementing the Operating Rules. These rules require irrigators to release a defined percentage of the flow past their abstraction works. However, six years after its completion the abstraction weirs are still not operated in this manner. The irrigators continue to divert flows up to the maximum capacity of the canals. One of the main reasons for the non functioning Operating Rules is the lack of knowledge about the rules amongst among decision makers and that the current irrigation abstraction points do not allow the release of a proportional flow. In conclusion, despite the policy reform the condition of the river(s) is not improving.

Mots clés : water management / water distribution / water policy / watershed management / legislation / water availability / water deficit / south africa / water framework directive / integrated water management / water rights

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Page publiée le 1er mars 2015, mise à jour le 11 octobre 2018