NAU aims to assist with implementation of new Water Act

Niël Terblanché

Safeguarding Namibia’s water resources for future generations rests on the successful implementation and the collective effort of the Namibian people to embrace sustainable water management practices.

Namibia has embarked on a significant legislative shift with the implementation of the Water Resources Management Act 11 of 2013, known colloquially as the Water Act, which came into effect towards the end of August 2023.

This new legal framework, complemented by its supporting Regulations 268, 269, and 270, aims to redefine water resource management in the country, emphasizing the government’s commitment to sustainable water use and environmental conservation.

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), representing the interests of farmers across the country, has voiced the need for clarity regarding the Act’s implications, particularly concerning the registration of dams and boreholes.

According to the NAU, the potential impact of these regulations might have an adverse effect on the farming community.

The requirement for farmers to register water resources like boreholes and dams with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform implies a paradigm shift towards more regulated water usage.

Historically, water resource management in Namibia has been a critical issue, given the country’s arid and semi-arid climate.

Namibia is one of the driest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, making water an invaluable resource for agriculture, a sector that forms the backbone of its economy and sustains rural livelihoods.

The new Water Act represents a modern approach to ensuring the equitable distribution and sustainable management of water resources, a move that aligns with global trends towards environmental stewardship and sustainability.

However, the transition to this new regulatory environment raises questions and uncertainties among the farming community.

The Nau’s statement reflects a proactive stance by the NAU to demystify the Act’s provisions.

By engaging with a specialist to dissect the legislation, the NAU aims to provide its members with a distilled summary of the Act’s requirements, emphasizing the need for clear guidelines and interpretations of more ambiguous sections.

The NAU’s Water Committee is set to play an essential role in bridging the gap between the agricultural sector and the government.

By liaising with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, the committee will seek to obtain definitive answers to the lingering questions surrounding the Act.

According to the NAU, the dialogue is crucial for ensuring that farmers fully understand and comply with the new regulations, thereby facilitating a smoother transition to the new water management regime.

The NAU stated that the path forward for the agricultural sector will hinge on effective communication and collaboration between the government and all stakeholders in agriculture.

The promise of the Water Act, with its potential to safeguard Namibia’s water resources for future generations, rests on its successful implementation and the collective effort of the Namibian people to embrace sustainable water management practices.

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