Based on the requirements of
the National Water Act (NWA), 1998 (Act 36 0f 1998), the
country was divided into 19 Water Management Areas (WMA).
The NWA also requires that a Catchment Management Agency is
established for each of these WMAs.
to the complexity of the Upper Vaal WMA, the area was
divided into 3 management units:
The Vaal Dam Unit
The Vaal Barrage Unit
The Kromdraai Unit
The Upper Vaal WMA is managed
by the Gauteng Regional Office of the Department of Water
Affairs and Forestry in consultation with stakeholders. In
order to ensure stakeholder participation 13 catchment
forums were established in the Upper Vaal WMA. The Waterval
River Catchment Forum is one such Forum.
In order to facilitate the
management of the forums each forum elected a Forum
Management Committee (FMC). The FMCs in all the respective
management units in turn elected Catchment Executive
Committees (CEC). The Waterval River Catchment falls within
the Vaal Dam CEC of the Upper Vaal WMA
Once all the three CECs were
elected and functioning a further election process was
conducted in order to establish the Upper Vaal Reference
Group. The Reference Group was elected from members of the
three CECs and is at the moment the highest structure in the
CMA establishment process followed to date. As part of its
function, the reference group will play a vital role in
public awareness creation. In the future it will also
provide the vital link between the CMA and the CECs and
their respective forums.
The Reference Group has also
set up Strategic Task Teams to address issues related to
coal mining, industry, sewage and monitoring. Plans are
underway to address gold mining related issues. It is
envisaged that these strategic initiatives will form part of
the Upper Vaal Catchment Management Strategy.
The entire basis of the CMA
process is public participation. The main aim of the CMA is
to bring the management of water resources to the catchment
level. This will ensure that water related issues and
concerns of people within a catchment are given due
recognition and addressed to the benefit of the catchment
and the relevant role players and stakeholders.
It is therefore vital that any
water related issues and concerns of the public are brought
to the attention of the Waterval Forum and the Forum
DWAF: Assistant Director