Evaluation of effluent discharge licensing in South Africa.
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Water is life. In South Africa it is a crucial element in the battle against poverty, the cornerstone of prosperity and a limiting factor to growth. As a fundamental and indispensable natural resource, no regional or national development plan can take shape without giving primary consideration to water. Due to water being an essential component to human and ecological life the scarcity has focused the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DW AF) to converge into the protection, use development, conservation, management and control of water resources. The Water Act (Act No. 54 of 1956) encompassed various shortcomings and therefore was replaced with the National Water Act (Act No. 36 of 1998) (NW A). The promulgation of the NW A gave effect to Section 24 of the Constitution, which entitles "everyone to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being". Therefore the government has an obligation to protect the water resources. In order to address this problem, government introduced the Licensing System. Therefore the "polluter pays" concept was introduced, a waste discharge fee is charged to the user. This was introduced to deter users from wasting the resources and to promote sustainable development. The information was presented in the form of a case study between the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and Mhlathuze Water. An evaluation and assessment was conducted of the current licensing procedure for Mhlathuze Water and recommendations were made for the process to occur efficiently. The License is a legal document between the government and the water user and it stipulates conditions that should be complied with all the time. It is valid for forty years, however will be reviewed every five years by the relevant authority. Monitoring and auditing will be conducted on a regular basis. In the conditions stipulated are not complied with, the license will be revoked.