Agricultural industry organisation AgriSA has welcomed the decision by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) acting director-general Deborah Mochotlhi to give regional DWS offices and catchment management agencies the power to issue water-use licences for low-risk and low-volume applications.

AgriSA views the decision as critical to fact-track applications for water-use licences, and says it is one of the key strategic measures to achieve revised time-frames to speed up the turnaround time for the finalisation of water-use licence applications from 300 days to 90 days. The regulation was signed into effect on February 16.

“We hope that, as the largest user of South Africa’s water resources, the agricultural sector will benefit from this development. AgriSA welcomes this critical step by the DWS towards the fast-tracking of water-use licensing applications,” says AgriSA Natural Resource Centre of Excellence head Janse Rabie.

Applications that are of national importance and that pose a high-risk to water resources will continue to be dealt with at the DWS’s head office.