BOCMA Water Use Validation and Verification

09 October 2013

The Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency targets 6008 water use properties for Validation and Verification.

The Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency (BOCMA) is undertaking a project of Validation and Verification (V&V) to determine the legal water use in selected priority catchments within the Breede Water Management Area.

The project focuses on three types of water uses, among others, such as taking water from a water resource; storage of water and, engaging in stream flow reduction activity in terms of Section 21 of the National Water Act 36 of 1998.

A budget of R9.5 million is set aside to finance the project and it will cover approximately 6008 water use properties. Once completed the V&V will provide peace of mind that existing water use is legal and it will ensure that upstream water users are not illegally depleting the water resource.

Validation is the process to confirm whether the volume of water registered coincides with the volume of water required for the crops cultivated. This is done by comparing the water registrations with the aerial photography of the year 2000 and the present water use will also be compared to the aerial photographs taken in 2010.

On the other hand Verification is the process to check the lawfulness of the volume of water actually used under previous legislation, so as to clarify the extent of Existing Lawful Use (ELU).

In terms of the National Water Act (NWA) 36 of 1998 an ELU is an agricultural use that had taken place at any time during a period of two years before the implementation of the NWA of the 1998, and which was authorised by any previous laws in force at that time. However, a check is also done on the current use of water to ensure that any increase in water use since the year 2000 has been authorised.

After water use properties have been verified and validated owners will be in a position to provide proof of legal water use for various transactions such as transferring property ownership, obtaining bank finance and negotiating contracts with customers.

The V&V will also assist in the correlation of actual water used and the accounts received for water management charges. In addition it will also develop and maintain improved communication channels between water users and authorities.