CAPE TOWN, The Department of Water and Sanitation has told Parliament hat it is strengthening inter-sectoral planning among the land, water and agricultural sectors to ensure rapid transformation of irrigation boards in line with the South African Constitution, the Water Act and the National Development Plan (NDP).
Briefing the Parliamentary Committee on Water and Sanitation here Tuesday about the progress in the the transformation of irrigation boards, the department said that historically, the irrigation boards were established to support farming among poor, white farmers during the apartheid era.
The department added that it had since initiated reforms in the functions of the irrigation boards to ensure that it supports water resources management in the country. The functions currently include the prevention of unlawful abstraction or storage of public water, among other matters.
Currently, there are 278 Irrigation Boards across the country and only 99 of these boards have met the transformation requirements as set out in the Water Act. The core of these transformation requirements include access to water for the previously disadvantaged communities and representation in gender, race, youth and people with disabilities, the department told the committee.
The department also informed the committee of its interventions to ensure the rapid transformation of irrigation boards, including water allocation reform, compulsory licensing and water user authorization.
The department is already strengthening inter-sectoral planning between the Land, Water and the Agricultural sectors to effectively address transformation objectives. It is also developing a pro-active design of a land-water strategy that will support accelerated agrarian reform and integrated funding models for previously disadvantaged individuals, the department said.
The department added that it is also undertaking a legislative review that will see the repeal of the Water Act as part of its interventions to speed up transformation in the sector.
Source: NAN NEWS NETWORK