Sugar industry


Dr Marilyn Govender and Shaun Naidoo

Dr Marilyn Govender is the Natural Resources Manager at SASA, and Shaun Naidoo is KZN’s Deputy Director Water Use.

In keeping with its pro-active approach, the sugar industry has developed the
SA Sugar Industry Water Strategy as a high-level programme prioritising actions for implementation by the industry and its key stakeholders. These short to long term interventions are viewed as a necessity to ensure sustainable management of water resources in the South African sugar industry.

The National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998 (NWA), calls for the nation’s water resources to be protected, used, developed, conserved, managed, equitably shared and controlled for the benefit of all water users and the environment. The South African sugar industry supports the national objectives to achieve equity by focusing on previously disadvantaged and resource-poor water users by ensuring that water is utilised efficiently to the benefit of the country’s economy and the continued sustainability of the sugar industry.

Government and SASA workshop

With this in mind, the industry has identified the Regulation of Water Use and Water Allocation Reform as a strategic focus area. In May this year, SASA facilitated a workshop with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) KwaZulu-Natal, addressing among others, the DWS programmes.

Programmes Spearheaded by the Department of Water and Sanitation:

  • Water Allocation Reform (WAR)
  • Validation and Verification (V&V)
  • Compulsory Licensing (CL)

These programmes adopt a multi-sector approach, collaborating with all stakeholders including the public, that require planning, implementation, actual validation, user engagements, legislative correspondence and updating of DWS databases.


Water Allocation Reform

  • Key programme for redressing inequities in access to water for productive purposes and is aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting economic growth
  • Address poverty
  • Address gender and race imbalances in water use and benefit
  • Promote sustainable development
  • Better protect the water environment
  • Take steps to meet the water needs of HDIs and the poor
  • Ensure participation by these groups in water resource management
  • Promote the sustainable use of water resources
  • Promote the beneficial and efficient use of water in the public interest
  • Validation & Verification and Compulsory Licensing processes are tools used to achieve these aims.

Validation and Verification

  • Verify all Existing Lawful Water Use for the Pongola to Umzimkhulu Water Management Area
  • Determine water uses and its lawfulness
  • To address the mismatch between the water user registration information and Existing Lawful Water Use
  • Provide a basis for all facets of Integrated Water Resources Management as envisaged in the NWRS
  • Create awareness of the processes in place, thus also having potential to identify Unlawful Water Usage
  • To re-dress inequalities within the allocation of the water resource thereby unlocking significant socio-economic benefits for HDIs
  • Effective management and control of water use, providing a foundation for WAR
  • Better and more inclusive local water management
  • Improved management of water allocations during times of water scarcity and droughts
  • More efficient and accurate billing and water use revenue management
  • Existing Lawful Use on newly purchased land
  • Reduced risk for financial institutions
  • V&V engagement sessions planned for 2016 and 2017.

Compulsory Licensing

  • Compulsory licensing, water use in a catchment can be authorised in terms of Section 22 of the National Water Act 1998
  • Address the historical imbalances and promote access for HDIs
  • Capacity building especially to HDIs
  • Promote BBBEE
  • Support Local, Provincial, National, Regional and international planning processes and development initiatives
  • Ensure that the water allocation process is fair, reasonable and predictable
  • Work to achieve balance between promoting economic development and long term protection of the nation’s water resources
  • Ensure balance between basic human, environmental, social needs, international agreements and economic use.