The water resource of the Integrated Vaal River System is an important asset to the country and its people, supporting major economic activities and a population of about 12 million people. Extensive urbanisation, mining (iron ore, diamonds, manganese, gold and coal), industrial and agricultural activities (farming activities range from extensive livestock production and dry land cultivation to extensive irrigation enterprises) are taking place that place high demands on the system.
DWAF has the responsibility to ensure that the country’s water resources are fit for use on an equitable and sustainable basis. To this end DWAF has initiated the development of a strategy for the Vaal River System that will include management measures to meet the growing water requirements of the industrial and urban sectors that are served by the Vaal River System, which includes the Upper, Middle and Lower Vaal and the Modder Riet Catchment of the Upper Orange Water Management Area (WMA). The studies, which were initiated in the last quarter of 2004 are the following:
- The Development of a Large Bulk Water Supply Reconciliation Strategy
- A Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Potential Assessment
- The Development of an Integrated Water Quality Management Plan.
The respective aims of the individual studies are to:
- Develop strategies for meeting the growing water requirements of the industrial and urban sectors served by the Integrated Vaal River System (Large Bulk Water Supply Reconciliation Study);
- Determine the potential for, and benefits of water conservation and water demand management (WC/WDM) in the various water use sectors with the focus on the Upper and Middle Vaal WMAs;
- Develop water quality management measures to ensure continued fitness for use in the Vaal River System for the planning period up to the year 2025 and beyond (IWQMP Study).
The management options and information from the above studies are being integrated into the Large Bulk Water Supply Reconciliation Strategy as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Integration of information from the three main studies and others into one reconciliation strategy