Event Debrief: Groundwater, Boreholes, and Water Use Licences (GWD, IAH-SA)


Groundwater is not private property, and the use of groundwater requires a water use licence, or a general authorization. This is imperative for most environmental impact assessments, requiring even ongoing monitoring for the foreseeable future.

The GWD together with the IAH-SA called together a group of dynamic ladies to present on their experiences and findings around this very relevant topic that came up a number of times during social media discussions and via email queries received. This event was opened by Mr Fanus Fourie, GWD National Chairperson, moderated by Prof Matthys Dippenaar (UP, current IAH-SA President) and Mr Julian Conrad (current IAH-SA Secretary and immediate past president of the IAH-SA).

" Welcome to all attendees to this very relevant topic we would like to address today. With more than 28,000 registered water users that are using groundwater on the DWS database (WARMS database) we can see that groundwater use is very important and its importance is only rising. The race is really on for everybody to take their fair share but with this there is a lot of challenges and frustration - not only on the applicant’s side but also on the groundwater specialists and the regulator side and that is precisely what we want to address today."
F Fourie
, GWD National Chair

Presenters and Topics

To license or not to license groundwater: let us answer that question - Melissa Lintnaar-Strauss, DWS
What's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine. Or is it? - Jodi Coetzee, GEOSS
How to authorise your water use: the process - Kate Cain, GCS Pty Ltd
The technical geohydrology report – and all that jazz - Preanna Naicker, GEOSS
Water use licensing: the in's and the out's - Elkerine Rossouw, BGCMA

Any more queries? Please contact your relevant DWS Regional Office or CMA for clarification: http://www.dwa.gov.za/Projects/WARMS/contacts.aspx

Thank you to all the Respondents to our QUESTIONNAIRE. This gave us great insight into the AUDIENCE PROFILE as well as the most relevant ISSUES & INFORMATION PROFILE. (Please note that these statistics are based on the Questionnaire responses only and do not reflect the overall status within the formal WULA process)

Herewith acknowledgment that through the efforts of Nicola Domoney and Megan Hugo from Indwe Environmental Consultants, we were able to pick up on a formula error on our attendee stats. Below the updated statistics noting adjustment of final attendee numbers from 183 to 225. Much appreciated!

During the event Q&A session, although with an extreme time constraint, Mr Julian Conrad was able to table some of the questions received to the panel. Herewith a brief summary of the responses. Please note that the live responses are just that, and will either be elucidated on or summerised with the formal feedback document.

Melissa pre-application meeting [TRANSCRIPTION]: Julian I just want to indicate the Department is fully up and running as far as license applications are concerned and officials are willing to go out do site visits if they have to. The officer working with you application will indicate and it also depends on the type of application you dealing with e.g. if it is a license application and its complicated, a pre-application meeting will definitely be asked for; for a simple application that we know exactly what is asked for and are sure about water uses you want to apply for, you will be guided by the officer working on you application.
We are receiving requests throughout the period and we are assessing applications.

Elkerine on Schedule 1 use [TRANSCRIPTION]: Schedule 1 is a small volume for household use, for a small garden. A small garden qualifies when it is not used for commercial use. If you have your own fruit trees in your backyard, it is still seen as a small garden. So what is a volumetric limit? From the BGCMA’s point of view we look at the lowest volume that can be allocated from within a General Authorisation (GA) and that is 2000 m3 per/annum and for anything more than that we request a General Authorization application as such.
In terms of of the multiple households from a single borehole on one property: Yes, it is still Schedule 1 but if you are going to use that water for drinking water then you must make sure that you are registered with your water services provider (WSP) which is normally your local municipality / district municipality (as a WSP and not an authority). There is bylaws that actually specifically talks to that, so if you are doing that, you should also speak to your municipality.   

Melissa on historical borehole use [TRANSCRIPTION]: This could fall under the ‘existing lawful use’ and in terms of the existing lawful use there is a process the Department is currently embarking on and it is called the Validation and Verification process where we actually have to check whether the water use is lawful. It has been going on across the country but you can contact your Regional Office or CMA to assist you with this specific issue if you are unsure.

Elkerine Rossouw on Timeframes [TRANSCRIPTION]: Yes, there is an alignment between the NEMA and the National Water Act and that is why the timeframe is for about 300 days. I can’t really speak to the presidents’ address about the three months except that if it is three months from the day that you started the application to having a complete license on your table and after all the studies had been done, it is possible. But with so many specialists required yes, an Integrated WULA might take longer than the 300 days that is why it’s always important to have a good discussion with your assessor beforehand, before embarking on a license especially for an integrated water use license application.

Thank you for attending this event!
Attendees that REGISTERED and noted their attendance during the event (via the CHAT window) AND selected the questionnaire option: "will request an attendance proof" - were issued with Attendance/ CPD Certificates.
Feel free to contact us should you not have received, via info@nullgwd.org.za.
Regards, GWD EXCO


The Borehole Water Journal, Article by the late GWD Honorary Member Mr Ernst Bertram https://bwa.co.za/the-borehole-water-journal/2016/7/3/to-register-or-not-to-register-permitted-water-use-explained-in-terms-of-the-national-water-act

Guide to e-WULAAS https://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green/files/atoms/files/A%20Guide%20to%20the%20e-WULAAS.pdf

National Chairperson: Mr Fanus Fourie
Vice-Chairperson: Ms Nicolette Vermaak
National Treasurer: Mr Yazeed van Wyk
National Secretariat: Dr Jaco Nel
National Coordinator: Ms Elanda Schaffner

Please contact this Committee via [email protected]

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