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National State of Water Report


Monthly Bulletin

Integrated Water Resource Studies



National State of Water Report

South Africa is characterized by high spatial variability in rainfall, with the east of the country lying in the summer rainfall zone with high rainfalls, whereas the west of the country lies in an all year round or winter rainfall region that is semi-arid to arid. River systems are the common surface water expression of water availability in South Africa, with others being lakes, ponds, pans.

As a developing country South Africa requires additional water resources to support the growing economy. With 98% of the country’s available water resources already allocated, opportunities to supplement future water requirements are limited.

The Department of Water and Sanitation as the public trustee or custodian of the nation’s water resources, has a vital and significant role in managing the country’s water resources. The department runs several monitoring programmes through established monitoring networks, to collect data and derive information related to the quality and quantity of both surface and ground water.

South Africa’s water security is threatened by a decrease in water supply due to negative impacts on yields arising from climate change, degradation of wetlands and water resources, siltation of dams, whilst water losses and demand are escalating due to population and economic growth, urbanisation, inefficient use, and changing lifestyles.

The National State of Water report sets out to package the available information into a product that will assist water managers in decision making; evaluating the impact of the implementation of our legislation; highlight identified problem areas; inform the public on the status of water resources and sanitation; what is being done to balance the water demand and supply; and ensure availability of water to future generations.

Most importantly, this report is part of an effort to disseminate information and knowledge to the public. The main aim is to enhance the quality, accessibility, and relevance of information and/or data related to the goal of Integrated Water Resource Management. This is to improve the public’s understanding of the importance of this vital resource and how it can be used more efficiently.

The Directorate: Water Information Integration, under the Chief Directorate: National Water Resource Information Management coordinates the provision of the national state of water report. The reporting on the state of water is a collaborated effort of all directorates within different branches within the Department of Water and Sanitation.

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