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IWRMP Guideline


   Jacqueline Burke, SRK Consulting, PO Box 55291, Northlands, 2116, South

This Water Research Commission (WRC) and Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry (DWAF) funded project focuses on the development of guidelines for
implementing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in Local Authorities
(urban areas) in South Africa. The focus of the guideline is the development of an
IWRM Plan (IWRMP). DWAF is currently responsible for water resource management
(WRM) and has developed the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS), which sets
out the means for achieving IWRM.

In many Local Authorities integration between development planning and the
management of the collective impact of all urban-related water processes including
sanitation, waste disposal, urban stormwater, urban runoff and water reticulation is
minimal and requires the implementation of an IWRMP. The development of the
IWRMP has been divided into three phases.

The objectives of Phase 1 of the guideline development project were to review the
applicable literature, to collate input from stakeholders and consider the technical and
legal issues that may influence the implementation of an IWRMP in Local Authorities.
The objectives of Phase 2 were an assessment of the legal issues, and the development
of the IWRMP Guideline to support the implementation of IWRM in Local Authorities.
Phase 3 will be the piloting of the IWRMP Guideline once it has been finalised.

The project methodology included a literature review, consultation with DWAF and
stakeholder participation. Findings of the project, the outline of the IWRMP Guideline
and the future of the project will be presented. Implementation of the Local Authority

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IWRMP Guideline

IWRMP will be a positive step forward in ensuring that Local Authorities achieve
sustainable IWRM. In turn, sustainable IWRM will be to the benefit of all communities
in the Local Authority, ensuring them of a safe environment and a certain level of

Abbreviations: CMA: Catchment Management Agency, DACEL: Department of Conservation,
Environment and Land; DPLG: Department of Provincial and Local Government; DEAT: Department of
Environmental Affairs and Tourism; DWAF: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry; IDP: Integrated
Development Plan; IWRM: Integrated water resource management; IWRMP: Integrated Water Resource
Management Plan; IWMP: Integrated Waste Management Plan; NWRS: National Water Resource
Strategy; SALGA: South African Local Government Association; WC/WDM: water conservation/water
demand management; WRC: Water Research Commission; WSDP: Water Services Development Plan.

South Africa is divided into 284 Local Authorities falling within approximately 1 950
quaternary catchments. The Local Authorities comprise mostly local municipalities (Category
C), several district municipalities (Category B) and 6 Unicities (Category A). IWRM within
these Local Authorities ultimately rests with DWAF, which has developed the NWRS, which
sets out the means for achieving IWRM. IWRM seeks to reach an appropriate balance between
the need to protect and sustain water resources on the one hand, and the need to develop and use
them on the other i.e. IWRM enables a Local Authority to provide services to all sectors within
its area of jurisdiction but without comprising either environmental integrity or human health.

As water resources do not respect political boundaries, IWRM cannot be implemented in
isolation but only through cooperative governance i.e. in conjunction with other Local
Authorities within the water management area (WMA) or catchment and the Catchment
Management Agency (CMA)1 or DWAF, until such time as the CMA is fully functional.

There are no hard and fast rules for the implementation of IWRM as the environment is a
dynamic system, continually adapting itself to a new balance, following the effects of both
human and natural influences on it. Achieving IWRM within this dynamic balance and the
creation of the necessary cooperative governance environment, cannot happen unaided, hence
the concept of an IWRMP and the development of an IWRMP Guideline for Local Authorities
(local government) in South Africa was initiated.

An IWRMP is a plan aimed at dealing with the socio-economic, technical, financial,
institutional and environmental issues as they pertain to management of the water resource. The

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IWRMP Guideline

plan also serves as a framework to ensure efficient, appropriate, affordable, economical and
sustainable use and development of water resources and includes the management of wastes that
have the potential to impact on the water resource.

The IWRMP Guideline is intended for all planners, policy makers, service providers and
environmental managers within Local Authorities. The primary objective of the Guideline is to
assist a Local Authority to develop an IWRMP to facilitate implementation of IWRM.

The second objective of the Guideline is to provide clarity on the perceived, primary constraint
to implementing IWRM in Local Authorities, namely the limited integration between
development planning (land use) and the management of the collective impact of all
urban-related water including sanitation, waste disposal, urban stormwater, urban runoff
and water reticulation as a result of:

       the different levels of understanding that prevail regarding the concept of IWRM;
       lack of clarity regarding the role of Local Authorities in IWRM;
       no standardised approach to incorporating IWRM principles into the planning and
        implementation of projects;
       the lack of or limited integration between the various departments responsible for the
        different components of IWRM, such as stormwater management, water services, billing

The project followed a phased approach.                Phase 1 took the form of a scoping exercise
comprising a literature review, consultation with DWAF and stakeholder participation. The
stakeholder participation process took place over the period April to June 2005 and included:

       a Local Authority (stakeholder) survey;
       discussions with individual stakeholders in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern and Western Cape and
        presentations at catchment management forums and integrated planning committees in
       one on one discussions with selected stakeholders, including representatives from selected
        Local Authorities and DWAF;
       a workshop held in May 2005 in Pretoria.

 Catchment Management Agencies are being established for each water management area in terms of
Chapter 7 of the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998.

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IWRMP Guideline

Phase 2 included an assessment of the legal issues surrounding implementation of IWRM in
Local Authorities, identification of all the information required in an IWRMP and the
development of the IWRMP Guideline based on the outcomes of the project work to date and
the recommendations of the steering committee.

Development of the Guideline focused on complementing two of the legally required sectoral
plans, namely the Water Services Development Plan (WSDP) and Integrated Waste
Management Plan (IWMP). The IWRMP fills in the IWRM gaps in the WSDP and IWMP but
without duplicating the information required in either of these plans.

It is the intention of the project team to pilot the ongoing development and implementation of
the IWRMP Guideline in selected Local Authorities as Phase 3 of the project.


Phase 1

Literature review
Review of selected IWRM literature from the international arena indicated that the international
WRM sector is at various stages of implementing IWRM but there are common elements in all
the approaches reviewed:

   constraints to implementing IWRM and measures identified to resolve the constraints are
    similar in most countries, a primary constraint being the limited integration between land
    use planning and WRM;
   the widely accepted tools for regulating water use and managing pollution are
    policies/strategies/plans (voluntary controls), water use charges/levies/taxes/incentives
    (financial controls) and licences/permits (legislative/regulatory controls);
   licences are primarily used to control abstraction, and in general licences/permits are for
    single use, usually abstraction, with conditions attached - this highlights South Africa
    progressive identification of 11 water uses (Section 21 water uses under the National Water
    Act, Act 36 of 1998) that require authorisation;
   stakeholder participation is widely practised and encouraged.

Within South Africa the framework for IWRM in the majority of the Unicities (Category A
municipalities) has been established through their participation in Local Agenda 21 and City
State of Environment Reports (DMA website). The elements of IWRM are depicted in Figure

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IWRMP Guideline

1. IWRM in the smaller Local Authorities (Category B and certain Category C municipalities) is
not as advanced as that of the larger ones (Category A and larger Category C municipalities). A
situation assessment in a district municipality cited several reasons for this (Moepe, 2005):

    unclear institutional responsibility leading to unaccountability;
    DWAF still provides the water services provider function due to the state of flux in some
    high unaccounted for water coupled with low revenue collection (<15% of water produced
     generates revenue);
    outdated bylaws are still in force.

                     Lessons learnt from implementation of IWRM in Africa

        IWRM relies heavily on community participation: In Tanzania, recent water
        reforms tend to bypass and ignore the contribution of customs, norms,
        traditions and local initiatives in the management of water. This was
        highlighted by a directive for cutting of alien riparian tree species,
        especially Eucalyptus spp. - cutting of trees is in conflict with the local
        custom (Sokhile, 2005).

        IWRM requires adaptability and change management: This realisation has
        been aptly described by a local community member involved in
        community based projects: “ For everything we do wrong we do two or
        more things right and we learn this way. Just like a child who walks for
        the first time falls down often but then he can run and nobody will catch
        him he is so fast” (Schoeman, 1997).

The approaches and research initiatives presented in the literature reviewed raised many issues
that relate to the legal obligations and the potential constraints and benefits of an IWRMP
approach in Local Authorities. These were explored further during the stakeholder participation
process of the project.

Stakeholder participation
A stakeholder survey to establish the level of understanding in terms of IWRM and the IWRM
status in Local Authorities was distributed to 26 out of the 284 Local Authorities in South
Africa and 9 water service providers. A 34 % return for the survey was achieved The workshop
was attended by 60 delegates comprising 8 different Local Authorities (26 attendees), DWAF
(22 attendees), 3 service providers, 2 Non Governmental Organisations and 5 consulting firms.

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IWRMP Guideline

The main issues raised during the stakeholder participation process, many of which were viewed
as constraints to implementing IWRM, included:

   uncertainty regarding the legal requirement for Local Authorities to implement IWRM;
   the ability of current institutional arrangements to implement IWRM;
   the need for awareness and education within Local Authorities and among Councillors;
   the feasibility of drafting and implementing an IWRMP;
   the need for co-operative governance and communication;
   the availability of resources and/or lack thereof for the drafting and implementation of the

           Figure 1: The elements of an IWRM approach in Local Authorities

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IWRMP Guideline

The identified benefits of the IWRMP were largely related to improved regulation and
management of water resources and the consequent improvement in water resource quality and

The main conclusion from the stakeholder participation process was that there is a definite need
for the development of an IWRMP approach and an accompanying Guideline, as IWRM is
generally not widely understood by Local Authorities.            It was recommended that a forum for
Local Authorities and DWAF to facilitate better communication between Local Authorities, and
between Local Authorities and DWAF be established, possibly through the Cities Network.

Phase 2

The legal obligation of a Local Authority to implement IWRM
The responsibility for the environment, and hence IWRM, at the local level is not clearly
defined in South Africa in any one piece of legislation (DEAT, 2004).                   However, the
Constitution and national environmental and local government legislation lays the foundation
for Local Authorities to consider IWRM although there is not yet any specific legal requirement
for the preparation of an IWRMP (Sampson, 2005). Local Authority key responsibilities, in
terms of the Constitution and water legislation that relate to IWRM, include ensuring provision
of municipal services, municipal spatial development (land use), infrastructure planning and
environmental management, including stormwater management, pollution control and waste
management (Mazibuko, 2004). Specific legal obligations include:

   prepare Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), in terms of the Municipal Systems Act, Act
    32 of 2000 (the water services component of the IDP is considered to be the WSDP).
   provide water supply and sanitation services in terms of Section 11 of the Water Services
    Act, Act 108 of 1997 and Sections 84 and 85 of the Municipal Structures Act, Act 117 of
   prevent any pollution from occurring and minimise or rectify any pollution that has
    occurred in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, Act 107 of 1998 and
    Part 4 of Chapter 3 and Section 21 of Chapter 4 of the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998,
    which also requires monitoring of pollution from land based activities i.e. carrying out
    water quality monitoring activities.

The IWRMP Guideline
The topics included in the Guideline and the rational behind the Guideline contents and layout is
described in the table below.

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IWRMP Guideline

         Topic                    Contents                                   Rationale
What is IWWM? What is       Definitions and       To ensure a common understanding of the principles
an IWRMP?                   schematic             of IWRM in terms of the project objectives.
                            representation of
                            IWRM (refer to Figure

What are the legal          Obligations in terms   An understanding of the legal obligation to implement
requirements and            of the Constitution    IWRM accompanied by education and awareness will
responsibilities?                                  foster political support and the will and ability to
                            Obligations in terms   implement IWRM at managerial and general staffing
                            of the National Water levels. A consequence of political support is often
                            Act and other national budget availability.

How does a Local          Hydrological cycle     Population growth and migration of large numbers to
Authority impact on water Impacts of             the cities has caused changes in the natural balance
resources?                                       of ecological systems, which threatens biodiversity,
                          urbanisation on water
                                                 ecosystem functioning and fitness for use of available
                          quality, quantity and
                          ecological habitat     resources (Obree, 2000, WISA, 2002; DWAF NWRS,
                                                 2004). For effective and efficient implementation of
IWRM in Local               The need for IWRM in IWRM, a common understanding of these changes
Authorities                 Local Authorities    and subsequent pressures on urban water resources
                                                 and the means (tools) to address these pressures is
                            Management tools     required. The ultimate aim of a management tool is to
                            and Section 21 Water manage pollution at source, which is a far more
                            uses                 efficient and cost effective way of dealing with waste
                                                 (Hinsch, 2003).
What can be learnt from     Global                   The intention of the Guideline is not to reinvent the
the approach of others      implementation of        wheel but rather to learn from the approach of others
                            IWRM                     both locally and internationally.
                            IWRM in South Africa
What institutional          Local Authority IWRM A clear understanding of what Local Authority
arrangements are            institutional        functions pertain to IWRM and the roles and
required and who is         arrangements         responsibilities of each department or section is
responsible for what?                            required. Generally the respective IWRM functions
                            Responsibilities of  are not all ring-fenced, resulting in duplication and
                            government           gaps. For the smaller Local Authorities there may only
                                                 be a few people carrying out all the IWRM functions
                                                 and in the larger Local Authorities the institution may
                                                 be too large for effective internal coordination, a
                                                 process requiring coordination of general
                                                 management issues as well as technical issues
                                                 (Mazibuko, 2004). The solutions proposed in the
                                                 Guideline for this dilemma include:
                                                     appointment of a dedicated coordinator/champion to
                                                      ensure that both the necessary integration and
                                                      stakeholder involvement takes place;
                                                     formation of partnerships with business, industry, non
                                                       governmental organisations and communities to
                                                       facilitate implementation of IWRM within the Local
                                                       Authority area.

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IWRMP Guideline

         Topic                 Contents                                   Rationale
IWRMP Guidelines         Plan contents            The plan requires the following information and
                         Cross references to      identifies the responsible departments at local,
                                                  provincial and national level:
                         WSDP and IWMP
                                                  Local Authority’s IWRM objectives;
                         Information required
                                                  Local Authority details and baseline information;
                                                  Legal framework including Section 21 water uses;
                                                  Surface and groundwater situation assessments;
                                                  Water use and management;
                                                  Waste management;
                                                  Quantitative risk assessment;
                                                  Management systems and strategies;
                                                  Prioritisation of projects;
                                                  Operational management.

Implementation of the IWRMP in conjunction with the IDP, WSDP and IWMP is depicted in
Figure 2 as a continuous feedback loop.

                      Figure 2: The continuous feedback loop for IWRM

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IWRMP Guideline

Conclusions and recommendations for implementation
The process of developing an IWRMP should create awareness and an enabling environment for
implementation. Implementation of the Local Authority IWRMP will be a positive step forward
in ensuring that Local Authorities achieve sustainable integrated water resource management.
In turn, sustainable IWRM will be to the benefit of all communities in the Local Authority,
ensuring them of a safe environment and a certain level of dignity. The following will be
required for successful implementation of the IWRMP:

   availability of adequate resources – financial and human resources;
   appointment of a coordinator or champion to facilitate the necessary integration,
    communication and collation and dissemination of information;
   support of the coordinator at the managerial and political level, including enabling access
    to resources to perform the functions of the coordinator adequately;
   involvement of the Local Authority in a DWAF-Local Authority Forum dealing
    specifically with IWRM to facilitate implementation of Local Authority IWRMPs in
    conjunction with implementation of the WSDPs and IWMPs;
   inclusion of IWRM issues in existing intergovernmental forums established in terms of
    cooperative governance;
   provision of assistance to Local Authorities from provincial and national government
   development of the optimum approach for implementation will need to be on a case-by-
    case basis due to the broad variation within Local Authorities, and where capacity is
    lacking implementation may need to be driven by the CMA/DWAF;
   Fine-tuning of the IWRMP Guideline will take place during Phase 3 of the project, which
    will be the piloting of the IWRMP Guideline in selected Local Authorities.

Way forward
The Guideline is to be published in 2006 as a discussion document for comment. A series of
workshops will be held around South Africa during 2006 to create awareness regarding the
IWRMP and ensure adequate dissemination of the Guideline discussion document.

DWAF will work in partnership with the South African Local Government Association
(SALGA) to guide the way forward for the continued improvement of the IWRMP Guideline to
ensure successful initiation of IWRM in areas where IWRM has not been implemented and
ongoing implementation of IWRM in all local government areas in the long term.

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IWRMP Guideline

The Water Research Commission and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry have jointly
funded the development of the IWRMP Guideline for Local Authorities.

DEAT, Development of a core set of Environmental Performance Indicators to be integrated
into IDP, EIP/EMP and SoE reporting, Situation analysis: Identification of Local Level
responsibilities for the environment. Palmer Development Group (March 2004)
DWAF, National Water Resource Strategy.               Department of Water Affairs and Forestry,
(Pretoria, September 2004)
Hinsch, M. and van der Westhuizen, J.L.J. The Bigger Picture: Managing water quality impacts
in an urban context.         Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, (Pretoria, 2003)
Mazibuko, G. and Pegram, G., Evaluation of the opportunities for cooperative governance
between catchment management agencies and local government, Pegasus Strategic Management
(WRC Project No. K5/1433, July 2004)
Moepe, P., Sibambisene Phase 2 Project – Implementation of WC/WMD Plan for Western
Highveld Region. Presentation at Launch of WC/WDM Strategy, (Midrand, 23 March 2005).
Obree, M., Catchment, stormwater and river management in Cape Town. Paper presented at
Workshop on surface water runoff, (Rand Water, October 2000)
Sampson, I., Independent legal assessment. Shepstone and Wylie (Johannesburg, August 2005)
Schoeman G., The development of programs to combat diffuse sources of water pollution in
residential areas of developing communities. Water Research Commission, WRC Report
519/1/97 (Pretoria, 1997)
Sokhile, C.S., Mwaruvanda, W. and van Koppen, B., Integrated Water Resource Management in Tanzania: interfac
formal and informal institutions (January 2005)
WISA, Water Institute of South Africa Position Paper on Water.                         World Summit on Sustainable
Development, (Joburg, 2002)


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