Requirements - general authorisations for taking and storing water
Taking of water from a surface water resource e.g. a river

A person who has lawful access to a property may take water from a surface water resource on or along the boundary of the property, up to the maximum allowable volume during certain months of the year.  If the abstracted volume is less than 2000 m3 per year and abstracted at a maximum rate of 1 liter per second, the water may be taken at any time of year. 

Table 1 in Appendix A of the General Authorisations of 2016 should be inspected in order to determine the specific volume and time period to which this general auhtorisation applies.  It is however highly dependent on the specific quaternary catchment in which the property is situated, and the volumes vary greatly (between 2000 m3 and 80 000 m3 per year). 

If the water taken in terms of this authorisation exceeds 18 250 m3 per annum (50 m3 per day on average over a year), it should be registered with the DWS.  In addition to this, if the surface water is taken at a rate of more than 5 litre per second, the actual surface water abstraction volumes should be measured and recorded for reporting purposes. 

 

Taking of water from a groundwater resource

A person who has lawful access to a property may take water from a groundwater resource up to a maximum annual volume based on the size of the property, the abstraction rate and the calculation method given in Table 2, Appendix B of the 2016 General Authorisations. 

The maximum allowable volume in general terms is 40 000 m3 per year, but varies according the quaternary catchment in which the specific property is situated.  For example, the groundwater authorisations for the Breede-Gouritz area varies from 45 m3 per hectare per year in certain areas, to 400 m3 per hectare per year in other areas. 

If the water taken in terms of this authorisation exceeds 3650 m3 per annum (10m3 per day on average over a year), it should be registered with the DWS.  In addition to this, if the groundwater is taken at a rate of more than 2 litres per second, the actual groundwater abstraction volumes should be measured and recorded for reporting purposes. 

 

Storing of water

A person who owns or has lawful access to a property may store water (not containing waste) up to a maximum volume based on the quaternary catchment in which the property is situated.  The volumes are given in Table 1 in Appendix A of the General Authorisations of 2016 and varies between 2000 m3 and 80 000 m3, depending on the location of the property. 

It is a special condition however that the water may only be stored off-channel, i.e. not within a river bed, otherwise it would trigger authorisations in terms of Section 21(c) and (i).  Furthermore, any retaining structures should have outlet works that enable the full storage volume to be released within 30 days.  If more than 10 000 m3 is stored in the specific property, the water use should be registered with the DWS. 

 

Exclusions and special conditions

If the person with lawful access to the property has another licence for the taking and storing of water, the person may not take or store more water than the person is otherwise entitled to take or than is allowable in terms of the General Authorisations of 2016, whichever is the largest.  This means that if person X has a licence to store 200 000 m3 and the general authorisations permit the storing of 50 000 m3, the total allowable storage on the property is still only 200 000 m3 and not 250 000 m3.  If the person does not have a licence, however, the person would be allowed to store 50 000 m3. 

Additional exclusions include the following.  These also partially relate to the 21(c) and (i) authorisations:

  1. No water may be taken in terms of the General Authorisations of 2016 within a 500m radius from the boundary of a wetland, pan or estuary;

  2. No groundwater that is taken in terms of the General Authorisations of 2016 may be taken:

    • within a 500m radius from the boundary of a wetland or estuary;

    • within a 100m radius from the delineated riparian edge of a water course or state dam;

    • within a 500m radius of a state dam wall or within 500m from the high-water mark of an ocean.  

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