ituated in the southwestern corner of South Africa, the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) plays a pivotal role in protecting, developing, conserving, managing and controlling water resources. Formerly known as the BreedeOverberg Catchment Management Agency, the Gouritz region was recently incorporated within the mandate. The merger came after the former Minister of Water Affairs, Edna Molelwa, approved the expansion of the boundary and area of operation of Breede-Overberg CMA in terms of Section 78(4) of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No 36 of 1998). The area of operation of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency includes the previous Breede-Overberg Water Management Area and the Gouritz Catchment. “The strategic focus of the agency incorporates water resource planning, water use management, institutional development, water resource protection and water allocation reform,” says CEO Phakamani Buthelezi. “The vision of the BGCMA, ‘quality water for all, forever’, was developed around the question of how the BGCMA can make a positive contribution and engender meaningful change within a broader social context.” The main elements of the vision are inclusion and participation of all stakeholders, mediation between WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017
competing environmental and human priorities, ensuring availability of good quality water and a responsibility to assist in eradicating poverty. Buthelezi explains that the BGCMA works closely with local governments on water management and water-related services to ensure synergy between the priorities of the Catchment Management Agency and the local and district municipalities. “The BGCMA is the operating arm of the DWS and its aim is to bring water resource services in an efficient manner to the inhabitants of the Breede-Gouritz Water Management Area,” explains Buthelezi. “Furthermore, the BGCMA works closely with other government departments to ensure compliance in all water use practices. The BGCMA provides comments on rezoning and consolidations to relevant municipalities, and on environmental impact studies and basic assessment reports in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Affairs.” The BGCMA is currently busy with the validation and verification process where all water users will be evaluated for legal compliance. This process will assist with the management of water allocations in the Breede-Gouritz Water Management Area (WMA).