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FAQ

Will I need a licence for tap water or water for my garden?
No. You do not need a licence for water you use in your home. You may need a licence to use raw water the water in rivers, dams, and reservoirs for a business or project. In some areas your water use may also be Generally Authorised, but you will be told this and will not need to apply for a licence.

Why can't I have the water that is in the river?
The National Water Act says water belongs to the nation. There are many demands on the water in your area, and we have to make sure that the water is shared out fairly. You may use river water for your household cattle or your garden. But if you want it for a business or project, you must first ask the DWS.

What does productive use of water mean?
Productive use of water means creating jobs and incomes that last. The best chance to do this is when new users are enthusiastic about using water, and also have the right to use the land, money to start and run the business, technical skills, and markets which will buy their products.

Who can help me make productive use of water?
The DWS will help you get the support you need, by working with other government departments, such as Agriculture, Land, and Social Development, and also local government, NGOs, and development agencies. In many cases you will be able to get financial support to help start your business.

Are water licences only for businesses? What about my community vegetable project?
Anyone who wants to use large amounts of raw water from rivers or dams or boreholes might need a water licence – even some community projects. Contact your DWS Regional Office to find out if your community project will need a water licence, and what to do next.

Why do we need Compulsory Licensing here? There is water in my dam and in the river.
The National Water Act says water belongs to the nation, not to individual users. There are many demands on the water in your area, and we have to make sure water is shared out fairly, in the best interests of everyone, and also of the nation.

Why must I apply for a licence? I have registered my water use, and I have a certificate verifying how much water I can use lawfully.
The certificate is a temporary measure, and was intended to be used only until we could introduce Compulsory Licensing to share out water more fairly. Your existing water use will be considered unlawful if you carry on using water after the Final Allocation Schedule has been published, and you have not been granted a licence.

I already have a licence for water under the National Water Act. What must I do now?
If Compulsory Licensing is announced in your area you must re-apply for a water licence so that the water you use can be accounted for in the allocation process. Your water use will not be curtailed but your licence may be reviewed.

I applied for a water licence before Compulsory Licensing was announced. What must I do now?
You must submit a new application, so that DWS can assess all the demands for water in the new process and when it is planning the new Framework for Allocation.

Are you going to take my water away overnight?
No. If water is to be reallocated, or shared out differently, the allocation process will be fair, reasonable and will be implemented gradually, as new users take up their water.

Will a new water user be able to use water to grow food and create jobs, like my farm does?
Yes, over time. We know many things must be in place for productive use of water, like markets, land and technical skills. The DWS and its government partners will work with historically disadvantaged individuals to address these factors. We hope that in time new users will become commercial users in their own right. This will be good for the whole country.

Can I appeal against the allocations?
Yes. Stakeholders can lodge a written objection to the Proposed Allocation Schedule, and, if needed, appeal to the Water Tribunal once the Preliminary Allocation Schedule is published. But the DWS hopes most concerns will be sorted out by discussion, as it is important to all of us to move ahead.

 

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