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Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency Rethinking water usage and stormwater management.

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outh Africa has always been a water-scarce country, but recent events have focused the minds of all citizens to the pressing need to preserve water resources and to use water more intelligently. One response at national level was to create nine Catchment Management Agencies. The Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) is the southernmost of the catchment agencies and falls mostly in the Western Cape. BGCMA offices are located in Worcester and George which enable the agency to assist local authorities, other water authorities and local communities.

Change is needed Among the steps that South Africa needs to take are changing the pattern of water usage, conserving water where groundwater recharges are feasible and focusing on capturing and storing stormwater in urban areas. This is according to the BGCMA’s Acting Water Use Manager and Geohydrologist, John Sibanyoni. John also suggests that municipal budgets “have at least a hydrogeologist and an engineer for water supply”. John, who has an MSc Geohydrology from the University of the Free State and is a Certified Professional Natural Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP),

Contact Details Address: 101 York Street, Dormehis Drift, George 6530 Enquiries: John Sibanyoni Tel: +27 23 346 8000 • Fax: +27 23 347 2012 Email: jsibanyoni@bgcma.co.za Website: www.breedegouritzcma.co.za

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believes that the country and its citizens really need to focus or engage in interventions such as those outlined above. The drought afflicting the Karoo region is the result of a combination of factors, not limited to climate change and the lack of specialist skills in municipalities. The reliance on surface water as the sole supply of water is a key reason for the current situation, according to John. Dams in the Breede water management area have done relatively better than the Gouritz area, under which the Karoo falls. Catchment agencies are not responsible for the disbursement of funds but the BGCMA has been involved in various drought relief initiatives. BGCMA is participating in technical planning for new wellfields for water supply in local municipalities such as Beaufort West. Other activities that the BGCMA provides as assistance to local authorities include: • Water scarcity and usage awareness campaigns • Fast-track the finalisation of licence applications • Media tour participation. Another important function of the BGCMA is to issue licences for water use, ranging from existing use permits to high-level commercial usage licences. ■ WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020

Profile for Global Africa Network

Western Cape Business 2020  

A unique guide to business, investment and tourism in the Western Cape. The 2020 edition of Western Cape Business is the 13th issue of this...

Western Cape Business 2020  

A unique guide to business, investment and tourism in the Western Cape. The 2020 edition of Western Cape Business is the 13th issue of this...

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