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The National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) provides a mandate to establish Catchment Management Agencies (CMA) for the decentralised management of water resources, to ensure the long-term equitable, effective and sustainable management of water resources in South Africa. The establishment of CMAs enables the promotion of equity through more effective water resources management and greater responsiveness to the needs of poor and marginalised communities arising from the closer links with stakeholder groups in the Water Management Area (WMA). In addition, the Department continues to have a significant role in ensuring that the voice of small users and disadvantaged communities are heard and in ensuring that the CMAs address redress and equity as priorities.

On 19 March 2012, the Minister pronounced the establishment of nine (9) CMAs in nine WMA. The nine WMA proposed by the Institutional Realignment and Reform (IRR) are Limpopo; Olifants; Inkomati- Usuthu; Pongola- Mzimkulu; Vaal; Orange; Mzimvubu- Tsitsikama; Breede-Gouritz and Berg- Olifants.

The Department has initiated a project for the establishment of the 9 CMA, which is envisaged to be implemented within a period of 4 years from 2012 to 2016.

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